Biologist On The Midwestern Drought: ‘It’s Like Farming In Hell’…(Get Your Food, Now!!!)
by Max Frankel
Jul 9, 2012
As intense heat and drought conditions continue across much of the Midwest, they are starting to take a toll on crop yields. According to a university plant biologist, operating in such conditions is “like farming in hell.”
The U.S. corn crop, which is the largest in the world, is at a very vulnerable point in its development: the pollination phase. Although the harvest isn’t for two months, future yields will be determined in the next few weeks as crops pollinate. However, the unusually hot and dry conditions are complicating this phase.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported on how drought conditions are impacting corn farmers:
“This is a very narrow window for corn, and there’s little room for error,” said Brad Rippey, an agricultural meteorologist for the United States Department of Agriculture. “Whatever happens in that window, it is what it is — that cob is made or broken.”
“Corn yields were falling five bushels a day during the past week” in the driest parts of the Midwest, said Fred Below, a plant biologist at the University of Illinois in Urbana. “You couldn’t choreograph worse weather conditions for pollination. It’s like farming in hell.”