SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Hot temperatures and little to no rain are causing some concern for Kansas corn farmers.
“What is happening is called firing where it starts burning up the lower leaves to be able to send moisture to the ear,” explained farmer Josh Patterson.
Josh Patterson and his family farm more than 900 acres of corn near Valley Center. Patterson said at this stage, the plant’s leaves should be green as they take in sunlight and send the energy to the ear of the corn. However, many of the plants are yellow and the ground they are planted in has wide cracks. It’s a sign of drought, according to Patterson.
“We have really missed out on some of the rains that southwest Sedgwick County or up by Whitewater have been getting, so our corn is suffering big time,” Patterson said.
The corn west of Wichita near Colwich is also suffering, according to Sedgwick County Extension Agent Zach Simon.
“Obviously, with the temperatures and lack of rain here recently this corn is not looking too great,” said Simon.
Simon said corn needs the most water during this particular stage in development.
“Right now, this plant is using about a third of an inch of water a day, so to keep up with this we would need about an inch of rain every three days,” Simon said.
Lately the south central part of the state has received little moisture. The temperatures have also soared into the 100s. Simon said this week’s heat and dry conditions combined could be detrimental to this year’s corn yields.
“It’s stressing right now with the heat,” Simon said. “If it stays dry we will probably see what we call a tip back where it will abort a lot of these at the end of the cob.”
“A bad deal all around. We need rain, pray for rain,” Patterson said.
Simon said it’s still too early to tell what this year’s corn yields will be, but he said if the temperatures don’t drop and the rain doesn’t come soon the potential yields will continue to decrease.