By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
NEAR HINTON, Iowa (KTIV) -
The mild winter has Dennis Bollmeyer's corn standing tall early in the year.
"That's about six days away from tassel" said Bollmeyer holding a cornstalk.
But the heat that's brought him so much benefit in months past, might start to burn in coming days. You see, Bollmeyer's worried hot weather will dry up ground moisture. Corn uses it to pollinate and grow kernels. Little water means little yield.
"Hopefully, through the grace of Mother Nature, we'll get some rain. That will kind of help carry us through this time," said Bollmeyer.
Meteorologists say rain isn't likely though. Siouxland's stuck under a dome of high pressure called a "ring of fire." It means we'll see hot temps and little rain into next week.
"Basically, the jet stream is going up to the north, it takes the storms along with. So it not only heats up, but we have a hard time getting rain out of this kind of pattern," said Sioux City Chief Meteorologist Ron Demers.
Agronomists, like Mike Tiedeman, say the heat couldn't come at a worse time for corn. Each acre needs about .2 to .3 of an inch of water, per day.
"We're short on water to begin with. We're just getting ready to enter corn's growth stage using its peak water demand," said Tiedeman.
Tiedeman says with no rain, help is limited. Irrigation isn't widely used here because of soil type. So, he says "hope for cool nights," which will shut down a plant's metabolism.
"It's just like you and I need to be able to rest at night. We can't go all day without rest," said Tiedeman.
Bollmeyer doesn't have any irrigation. He knows his options are few.
"There isn't much we can do other than hope and pray for rain," he said.
If not, what's shaping up to be a bumper crop may go bust in the heat.
Agronomists say soybeans farmers may not be feeling as much of the heat. Officials say right now soybeans don't need as much water as corn.
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