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Record-nearing dry weather impacting farmers

Farmers are also facing the abnormally high prices for things like diesel and pesticides.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. — As West Michigan continues to enjoy the beautiful weather, farmers are feeling the pain of the lack of rain.

"There's really not a whole lot you can do," said Eric Anderson, "you just manage around it."

Anderson is a Field Crops Educator with MSU extension, and he talked about some of the harsh realities of drought that farmers face across West Michigan and beyond.

13 ON YOUR SIDE Meteorologists said that as of Tuesday, we were in the top 10 for driest Junes on record. They report that our area has only had only 1.42 inches of rain all month, with .53 inches of that rain falling just on Wednesday. Without that one thunderstorm we would have only seen less than an inch of rain all month long. Overall, we are over 2 inches below rainfall averages for the month of June. 

They also say that some of our northern counties are placed under abnormally dry conditions.

"And for those folks who are on dry land," said Anderson, "it's still pretty early, so we're not in panic mode yet."

Not in panic mode yet, but still feeling the heat, especially for corn and soybeans.  And that's why Anderson said if you see fields of these crops, they may look a little different than usual.

"So what you're seeing in the field is the corn is starting to roll," he explained, "and that's just the corn's way of trying to mitigate that water stress. So the leaves will roll up so that there's less sunlight."

And as for soybeans, "if you see the soybean fields is looking kind of grayish more or less silver tone to it,  or if those corn leaves are rolled, you know that that that crop is under stress a lot," added Anderson.

He also explained that the other edge of the sword for farmers this year are the high prices. 

"We feel it at the gas pump, but farmers feel even more just like a truck driver, when they go to fill up," Anderson said. "It could be hundreds or thousands of dollars, and every time they need to make a pass across the field, they're they're feeling that."

He explained that because prices are hiked, even for things like pesticides, it becomes almost a wash out for the farmers in terms of making any profit. 

"Just know that the farmers in your midst are not struggling so to say, but it's a challenging year to try to manage, not just from a weather perspective, but also from the costs of all these different things," Anderson said. 

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