Dry weather causes problems for Heartland farmers

The latest drought monitor shows abnormally dry conditions in nearly all of our Heartland counties.
Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 6:04 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Temperatures are falling, but rain is not. The latest drought monitor shows abnormally dry conditions in nearly all of our Heartland counties.

The lack of rain has some farmers counting their losses this harvest.

Since May, Reitzel Farms has had less than 5 inches of rain. In some ways, they said it makes harvest easier, but mostly it takes a toll on business. As they harvest their corn, you can see the dust flying through the air.

“We don’t have to worry about mud, you can come out any day you want and shell, don’t have to worry about getting rained out unfortunately,” Mark Reitzel said.

He and his father work on the farm together.

While it’s nice weather for harvesting, Reitzel said it’s not good for business. They have noticeably fewer bushels than usual.

“Losing 50 bushel on this corn crop may not sound like a whole lot, but that’s profit,” he said.

What’s causing the loss is rain, mainly the lack of it.

“We’ve had nothing, it’s just been awfully dry,” Reitzel said.

Corn, wheat and grass are all affected.

“To work the ground, to plant wheat, we don’t have enough moisture to get that up,” he said. “We’ve sold a little grass this fall, and most of that, if it’s sprouted, it’s dying, it’s not growing.”

The equipment takes a hit too.

“It’s a lot more stressful, and it is a lot harder on machinery with dust and just the everyday wear on stuff like that,” Reitzel said.

Although more rain could come, he said at this point, it wouldn’t help. They still have some late-blooming beans it may benefit, but for the most part, they’re counting their losses.

“For this crop, for 2022, it’s over,” he said.

They have also had increased prices on fertilizers and other things they use due to inflation. Reitzel said the lack of rain has hit many farmers around the Heartland very hard.