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Broken record, times two

By Holly Martin

Here I am, talking about the weather again. I feel like a broken record. Over the last few years, if I ask a group of agriculture folks what I should write about in my next column, invariably they say, “The weather.”

Out here in western Kansas, that response has mostly been because of the severe drought. In the eastern part of our coverage area, it’s been rain. There’s been way too much rain to get the corn and beans planted this spring. Both are bad even though they are different ends of the spectrum.

Record high temperatures began this week across the High Plains. I wish I could have had a time-lapse camera going above a green wheat field. Two days of high heat and high winds ripened the crop more quickly than I have ever seen.

My husband drove to extreme western Kansas this week. Pastures are not growing. In fact, there are bare patches of ground where there should be grass. Ranchers brought cows home to drylot and feed them.

All across western Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, wheat is inches tall and the heads are tiny. Burning diesel to harvest the crop seems like a waste.

I have a friend farther west who has had less than 5 inches of rain in three years. His family is making tough decisions on whether they will be able to hold on to their ranch or whether to say, “Enough is enough.”

Last week, my family traveled through parts of Missouri and Iowa. My son kept asking, “How do they get all that water in their ponds?” And while that might be pretty appealing to a western Kansas kid, the muddy fields way behind normal aren’t good for the prospect of this crop.

It is a wide departure from last year. According to crop report in Missouri, corn planting was 27 days behind last year and 8 days behind normal. The wide variance be another record, although I couldn’t find statistics to back me up.

I know, somewhere in between the drought and the soaked fields there are folks who are just about right. And thank goodness. Count your blessings.

If only we could get rainy pattern to shift west, we could make everyone happy. And that would be record, in and of itself.

Holly Martin can be reached by phone at 1-800-452-7171 ext. 1806, or by email at hmartin@hpj.com.

Date: 6/17/2013



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