Local farmers struggle with lack of rain

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FOWLER, Mich. (WLNS) – First it was too much rain…. now it’s not enough. This time of year corn stalks should be about chest high but according to local farmers, it’s only knee to thigh high. That’s because too much rain early in the Spring delayed their planting and now the rain just won’t fall.

“It’s pretty challenging right now,” Farmer Brian Washburn said.

“We could use rain about anytime,” Local Farmer Matthew Keilen stated.

“We need just a good soaking rain to help us out for a little while,” said Pat Feldpausch, local Fowler Farmer.

Feldpausch grows corn, soy beans and wheat on his farm but because crop season started so late this year, his crops are behind.

“This spring was very wet all the way through the month of May and it really delayed us in planting,” Feldpausch mentioned.

Local farmers say April is the best month to start planting crops but this year, most couldn’t plant until the end of May.

“It definitely affects the business…you have to have your crop planted by a certain date in order to qualify for crop insurance,” Washburn said.

And after a late start…it went from too much rain, to not enough.

“Rain makes grain,” Feldpausch stated.

But right now, that’s not happening. It’s been nine days since farmers saw any substantial rain to water their corn and other crops.

“If you don’t have enough rain, then you can’t get a good germination and it won’t take off and grow as well as its potential is,” Keilen said.

“When you don’t have adequate moisture in the soil going into that reproductive phase here in a couple three weeks, that’s when it will be really, really important,” Feldpausch mentioned.

So while it has been a struggle so far, there is still hope. And the rain can’t come soon enough for these farmers.

“Most of all our income comes through grain sales,” Washburn said.

“They’re making it along…it’s not the best situation but it’s what we got to work with right now,” said Keilen.

And according to Feldpausch, the ideal rainfall for crops would be about 4 and a half to 5 inches a month. He also says if rain doesn’t fall within the next 2 weeks, crops will be in critical condition and farmers will consider it a drought.

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