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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Rain both helpful and harmful to crops

  • Jonie James, K-State Research and Extension agent in McPherson, said the rain helped crops that needed water to fill out, such as corn, but also oversaturated the ground in some places, forcing the oxygen out of the ground.
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  • Recent rainfall has been more than what some crops need.
    Jonie James, K-State Research and Extension agent in McPherson, said the rain helped crops that needed water to fill out, such as corn, but also oversaturated the ground in some places, forcing the oxygen out of the ground.
    James said crops that don’t have enough oxygen will begin to turn yellow. Ideally, the ground will be 50 percent soil, 25 percent water and 25 percent oxygen. Right now, it’s about 50 percent soil and 50 percent water.
    James said many farmers are behind on hay cutting. Jeff Smith of S & S Farms said floodwaters caused damage to his alfalfa, turning it brown.
    “We’re not sure yet if it’s permanent,” Smith said.
    The rain also has caused a lot of volunteer wheat to grow. Volunteer wheat is wheat that grows after the regular wheat harvest. James said volunteer wheat can be a harbor for disease-carrying insects, which can damage crops in spring.
    “If you don’t control it, it becomes a bridge,” James said.
    James said farmers will usually use herbicides to control volunteer wheat. However, because the ground is wet, many farmers will need to use planes because road vehicles can’t get in.
    The cooler weather also has had a negative effect on crops that thrive in heat. Crops such as sorghum mature slowly in lower temperatures and might not be ready for harvest before it freezes.
    James said the sun this week should help dry out the land. People should drain and aerate their lawns to keep the ground oxygenated. Gardeners should be aware of whether the rain has damaged their crops.
    James said if the water flowed through but didn’t stay long, crops should be okay. However, if the water stayed, fruits and vegetables may have begun to rot.
    “Once it starts to rot, it doesn't matter how much sun you get,” she said.
    James also said people should adjust or turn off automatic sprinklers to help the ground dry faster.
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