Farmers are sweating over the excessive heat plaguing Kansas, but the National Weather Service is predicting cooler temperatures for the next week.
Today will be the first day since Sunday that Lawrence will not be under a heat advisory or excessive heat warning.
But corn farmers in the Douglas County area aren’t just hoping for a break from the high temperatures — they want rain.
“This heat and dry weather is really taking its toll on the (feed) corn,” said local farmer Pat Ross, who is Kansas Corn Commission east-central Kansas district director. “(The drought) is really detrimental to corn production.”
Ross said the weather affecting the feed corn is universal across Kansas, and almost all corn farmers are expecting only a half-crop this year.
Sweet corn and soybeans haven’t been significantly affected by the weather yet, but Ross doesn’t know how long the crops can continue to thrive without rain.
“Another week like today and it’s hard to keep it in good shape,” Ross said Friday.
The low amount of precipitation isn’t affecting only farmers.
Jeanette Klamm, utilities program manger with the city of Lawrence utilities department, said water usage has peaked earlier this year. At this time last year, water usage was at 1.13 billion gallons of water. Now, the running total so far is 1.8 billion gallons, about a 60 percent increase.
Although water usage is already up from last year, Leonard Allen, Westar Energy senior communication representative, said energy usage hasn’t increased with the heat.
Klamm said part of the higher water usage likely has to do with residents watering lawns earlier and more frequently because of the hot, dry and windy days.
The city waters the planters downtown twice a week, but Crystal Miles, horticulture manager with the city’s parks and recreation department, said the dry conditions are requiring workers to water city trees three weeks earlier than during average summers.
“We’re trying to be economic where we can and not waste water ... it’s a real serious issue,” Miles said.
The city has some irrigation in place that “helps immensely,” but it is still necessary to provide trees with supplemental water.
National Weather Service meteorologist Kris Craven said the next chance for cool weather will be next Saturday, but temperatures will continue to be in the high 90s through Friday.