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Archive for Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hot weather dries up farmers’ yields to half of usual harvest

Kent Nunemaker cuts corn for silage for Nunemaker-Ross farm Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Nunemaker said they were cutting about three to four weeks early because the crop was showing signs of the effects of the extreme heat and lack of rain.

August 2, 2011

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Kent Nunemaker cuts corn for silage for Nunemaker-Ross farm Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Nunemaker said they were cutting about three to four weeks early because the crop was showing signs of the effects of the extreme heat and lack of rain.

Kent Nunemaker cuts corn for silage for Nunemaker-Ross farm Tuesday, August 2, 2011. Nunemaker said they were cutting about three to four weeks early because the crop was showing signs of the effects of the extreme heat and lack of rain.

100 degrees and up

Tuesday’s high temperature in Lawrence topped out at a record 108 degrees, the 15th such day so far this summer in which mercury hit triple digits.

But don’t start sweating tears just yet.

The record for number days in a single year with temperatures of at least 100 degrees is 58, set in 1936. That’s also when the longest streak of such days hit: 19 in a row, from Aug. 9-27, 1936, in the midst of the devastating Dust Bowl.

Furnace-blown temperatures and prolonged dry conditions are tugging soil away from foundations, knocking out power to homes and sending folks to the hospital for heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other heat-related conditions.

All as a financial lifeline for dozens of county farmers struggles to survive.

“One hundred-plus degree temperatures make plants die — all kinds of plants, including corn,” said Bill Wood, director of K-State research and Extension in Douglas County. “We’ve gone from looking good to very sad.”

Wood said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the county’s 26,000 acres of corn struggle to yield an average of 60 bushels an acre, which would be half the usual harvest that typically begins in late August and continues into September. Tall green stalks have turned brown, likely costing the area more than 1.5 million bushels of feed corn.

“We still go to work and get a paycheck at the end of the month,” said Wood, whose office is at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. “If a farmer can’t harvest, that paycheck has dried up.”

Douglas County received 3.11 inches of rain in July, or 78 percent of the 3.97 inches normally received, said Mary Knapp, state climatologist.

In addition to parching crops, the relatively dry conditions have left gaps widening between home foundations and the soil surrounding them.

Best advice for avoiding concrete damage: Wait until early September, then pour topsoil into the voids, tamp it down and apply water while leaving enough slope so that water flows away from the foundation, said John Stevens, owner Concrete Inc.

“If you water it right now, with that big gap and any kind of a foundation crack, you’re just likely to wet your basement,” said Stevens, whose been repairing foundations and other concrete for 15 years from his base southeast of Lawrence.

Tuesday’s heat damaged some equipment for Kaw Valley Electric, knocking out power for 75 customers just outside the western edge of Lawrence. The outage left David Dye without his work computer — and, more importantly, air conditioning — for nearly two hours.

“We lose power quite frequently,” said Dye, who made arrangements for himself and his 2-year-old child to stay the night elsewhere, in case the power outage endured. “Just not on days like today.”

Comments

dogsandcats 3 years, 4 months ago

"That’s also when the longest streak of such days hit: 19 in a row, from Aug. 9-27, 1936, in the midst of the devestating Dust Bowl."

devastating

Spellcheck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Katara 3 years, 4 months ago

The Dust Bowl is a well known time in American History when many farmers lost the vests off their backs.

Alceste 3 years, 4 months ago

Wait! Am I reading the article correctly? It DOES say in that there pretty picture Nunemaker-Ross farm correcttt?? By Golly!

That there farm been getting WELFARE from the gubment for many years. In fact, over $1,032,736 since 1995. http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A06794798

Well, as my job creator brother has informed me "Alceste, being a millionaire these days isn't the same as it was when Ron was President." (Shhhhh.....rich is a cuss word now....we're being all political correct and such.....the proper term is job creator. The U.S. of A. no longer has rich people. It has job creator people.)......

Alceste 3 years, 4 months ago

Wasn't that during the times when there were actually family farms and there were no such things as price subsides; price supports; etc.? You know, corporate WELFARE?

Seems to me with all the phat money moving around the past ten years alone, this Nunemaker-Ross farm oughta be pretty well in the "black" as they say....as opposed to being in the red in this red state, which is wholly against bums on welfare. Right? People on welfare are bums, right? shrug

thelonious 3 years, 4 months ago

On Tuesday, the LJW published a story that said Lawrence hit 111 on Tuesday, now on Wednesday, they publish a different story that says Lawrence only hit 108 on Tuesday. I believe the NWS recorded 111 for Lawrence on Tuesday at the official station at the airport - did the 108 come from the "Kansas State Climatologist", or if not, where did it come from? Why doesn't the LJW just use the official NWS statistics like every other newspaper or TV station does? Maybe Lawrence doesn't trust the NWS and takes its own readings - kind of like Lawrence doesn't like the US Census figures, so it does its own population count.

George_Braziller 3 years, 4 months ago

The on-line version, the print version, and Channel 6 never match. I've seen them vary as much as 12 degrees within minutes. Ever noticed that on-line version always has the UV index listed as "None of 11+"?

It can be -15 and snowing or 105 and a clear sky. Always says that the UV is "None."

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