Abnormally dry weather conditions worry local farmers

Abnormally dry weather conditions worry local farmers

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mid-Missouri crops and livestock suffered last year because of a severe drought reaching from Texas to Canada.

Local USDA officials said the state is not in a drought yet. But one local farmer said his crops are already being damaged from the excessive rain, to no rain for weeks and high temperatures.

Farmers are facing dry, hot and sunny weather for the next seven days.

A forecast Midwest farmers remember all too well: a drought swept through Missouri the summer of 2012.

"Moisture is critical. We don't have near the drought we had last year, and if we're entering a drought, we are just beginning, and so the next two weeks will begin to tell the tale," said Mark Cadle, United States Department of Agriculture.

A tale that could be disastrous for local farmers.

"This time of year we've had a lot of warm weather and rainfall is harder and harder to come by in July and August, so what we are seeing is not unexpected but, we don't like to see our crops suffering from dry weather," said Terry Hilgedick, local farmer.

Excessive rain in the spring flooded fields, delaying farmers' planting process.

"It had a cool wet spring to try and grow in, and so it's behind what would be normal. And when it's behind what would be normal, it throws this critical period into the heat of the summer and more than you want it to be, and there is more of a risk with what may or may not happen," said Hilgedick.

Now, farmers like Hilgedick could use some of that excess rain.

USDA officials told us we are better off heading into a drought this year than last.

Some of Hilgedick's corn crop is lush, green and nearly eight feet tall. Some corn is fading, leaves wilting and producing small ears of corn.

"These sandy places are a predictor of what more acres every day will look like if no rain continues," said Hilgedick.

Lush fields of growing corn will begin to look like those already suffering from drought. Corn already suffering from the drought will continue to look worse every day.

Officials and farmers are uncertain if last year's drought, combined with a possible drought this year, will affect shoppers at local grocery stores.

U.S. drought monitor maps are issued weekly.

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