Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:33PM - 68 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

The unusually warm and dry weather is causing more problems as the summer continues.

“This is the critical week right now,” Pike County Extension Agent Jeff Fisher said as he watched a drought monitor. “If we don’t get some rain here - the corn is tasseling and pollinating, and that will be very critical to ear formation at the yield for the year.”

Fisher said the current drought has had an effect on all crops.

“Soybeans are starting to bloom, and they are probably a half to a third the size they normally would be in terms of them setting the number of pods which effects yield, that’s going to be effected this week as well,” Fisher said.

Fisher said the real critical situation has to do with concerns farmers have about taking their crops to market.

“To harvest a field, the expense for your machinery and fuel and things like that is going to be the same,” Fisher said. “And you’re going to have reduced yield, so obviously they’re going to have lower gross receipts and less profit this year. It’s just a matter of how long it continues to stay dry.”

Fisher said part of Scioto County has not reached severe levels yet, but he said most of Scioto County, Pike County, and surrounding counties have reached what is referred to as a “moderate drought.”

“People are seeing it in their gardens, especially having to water every day, and trying to keep up with it,” Fisher said. “I’ve had a lot of calls from folks who have vegetables in their gardens dying because of lack of water. The other thing is, because it is so dry, there is no grass out there on the cattle farms, and the bugs are moving into the gardens. So people are having more problems with insect damage on their crops. They need to be aware of that so they can go out there and take any precautions they need to.”

Fisher isn’t the only agriculture specialist concerned about the weather conditions this week.

“Because we had such an early planting year and an early spring, the corn crop, especially, accelerated, compared to last year, because last year it was weird because of a wet spring,” Brad Bergefurd, Scioto County Extension Educator for Agriculture, said. “We’re right in the very critical stage of the crops growing, especially corn, where it’s pollinating. The dry weather can really impact yield. Hopefully there’s a little rain in the forecast. Hopefully we catch a shower and we don’t get hurt too bad. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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