Farmers: Corn needs rain by weekend

BARODA, Mich. - Farmers are already calling it a tragedy. At this point, each day without rain is killing more fields of corn.

Some farmers are saying the next five to seven days “crucial” for remaining corn fields without irrigation.

“It gets (browner) every day,” said Dean Schmaltz, pointing out a brown corn plant on his farm. “That field is shot.”

You don’t even need to look at the corn on Schmaltz’s farm to know this drought has casualties. The water level on the farm pond dropped two feet this summer killing between 50 and 75 fish.

If you do walk the cornfields, though, things aren’t looking much better. “Zero (crop),” said Schmaltz, on a dead 36-acre corn field. “The whole field is gone.”

Of Schmaltz’s 120-acre corn crop, he estimates between 33 percent and 50 percent is already dead. “It started off good but it just ran out of water.”

Some of the fields with thicker soil have held on through the drought. Schmaltz said without rain in the next few days things could look much different. “If we don’t get rain this weekend I’m almost going to give up on it,” he said. “All of it.”

Schmaltz Farm already lost juice grapes this year in the spring and if he is getting anything to sell the next few days will be the key. “I guess you’ve got to have faith in god,” he said. “What else can you do?”

Wednesday the Chicago Board of Trade increased the price of corn 4 percent per bushel. Poor weather in the Midwest has increased the price almost 40 percent for corn in just the past few weeks.

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