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Friday, July 6, 2012

The last week in June around my hometown was hot. I think it was pretty hot across the country, but I'm pretty sure it was this hot in Satanta....
So I didn't try frying an egg on the sidewalk, mainly because sidewalks are extremely dirty and food safety is kind of important to me, but I'm certain I would have ended up with a sunny side up egg if I would have tried it! In fact, this week it's only about 100 degrees out and it feels like a nice break from the heat!

Farmers and ranchers have specific challenges when the thermometer tips over 105 degrees outside. As dry as we have been this year in Southwest Kansas, some of the damage done by the week of sultry sun will not be overcome despite our best efforts. Some of these pictures just make me ill because I know how much passion my family has for growing crops and having a plentiful harvest. This year we may not get a plentiful harvest again...

 This corn is a good example. The growth stage the corn is at right now is very delicate. Many of our fields are starting to tassle. When the plant is approaching this stage, pollination and ear growth are greatly compromised if the plant is in any kind of stress. Currently our corn is stressed for water and then an additional stress for the extreme heat. You can see the burned tips on most of the leaves in this picture and that just shows you the damage that won't be overcome the rest of the summer.
 This is a close up picture of some of the worst leaves. This is in a field of our irrigated corn. The heat damage is very evident in this picture. You can also see how curled the leaves are. On a normal year, the leaves should remain broad and bright green.
This is a shot that I took of some dryland corn in our area. The dryland corn is really struggling as you can tell. Dryland means that it is not supplemented with water from sprinklers. Dryland farmers rely on the rain that we receive to help the crops grow. We haven't received very much rain, if any in places, this summer. Before that, we experienced a very dry and mild winter. The damage this corn has endured through the heat wave will cause this field to be abandoned most likely. The one positive to this situation is that the ground is covered and the roots from the corn plants will keep it from blowing. Farmers in our area have battled blowing ground all year. When the topsoil gets to blowing, it jumpstarts the process of erosion. My dad wants to preserve the precious topsoil on his ground so that his son can farm it throughout his lifetime. This type of care and conservation of the land has been instilled in farmers for generations. It's the only chance they have at preserving their businesses and passing them on to the next family.

I hope to have a couple pictures up of our cotton fields soon. They look pretty good still. Cotton endures the heat a little better and takes less water. Plus, it's one of my favorite plants to watch grow!


Tera Rooney

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