Continental Chicago

now in its one-hundred-and-eightieth year

Farm Stand Intel

Zinnias (Credit: Susan Barsy)

The news from Berrien County MI is that rain is needed, a sentiment being expressed, with various degrees of urgency, in many parts of the country, and on countless farms throughout the Midwest.

We were at Dinges farm stand yesterday, where the night before an inch of rain had fallen, a microburst that didn’t help farmers even a few miles down the road.

Spots of rain help ease the urgency here and there, but in most quarters there are fears: about pumpkin vines not growing, bees not coming out of the hive, corn not tasseling.  The fields look lush in some places, but most crops have been stopped in their tracks by weather that’s been too stubbornly hot and dry.

Michigan farmers are already hurting from having lost all of their stone-fruit—all their wonderful cherries and peaches and plums—from a combination of freakishly early spring weather and a freakishly late frost.  Every day and night now, we scan the weather maps looking for the angry spots that might bring us some rain.

We came off the weekend with some zinnias and a feeling that the summer might be a tough one for Midwestern agriculture.

4 comments on “Farm Stand Intel

  1. Joe
    July 26, 2012

    Hi Susan…..I have spent a lot of time in places like Saugatuck, and the harbor country of Michigan…….going in a couple of weeks. I love that side of Lake Michigan. In any event the combo of drought and heat is really historic…..This entire year in Chicago has been warmer and drier by far than normal. The winter was mild. In March we went to the Fl. Keys and came back and all the trees were green here…..amazing. The summer has been brutal. I have been in Chicago my whole life and remember nothing like it……..something strange is definitely happening to the climate…….I have no answers to this but it is a fact……..

  2. sam dune
    July 16, 2012

    Yes, I can relate. I am “based” in the midwest and boy do we EVER need rain. I sooo wish it would rain. I like to watch the price of futures; in the corn and soybean markets both are sky rocketing. Dec Corn is now near $8.00 a bushel and the crop keeps getting worse and worse as this drought continues. Nov Beans are just shy of $16.00 a bushel and the same is true. The end result will surely be far fewer crops than usual–wheat included–and hence we consumers will be paying a lot more at the grocery store.

    • Susan Barsy
      July 20, 2012

      Two nights after I wrote this there was a terrific thunderstorm that dropped several inches of rain on southern MI and northern IN, but I’ve heard that a single rain isn’t enough to affect much of anything. We take the amazing productivity of our Midwestern lands for granted–it’s disturbing to see that imperiled. SB

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