June felt more like July or August in most of Missouri, but the disparities in rainfall is what has many farmers in a clinch.
Pat Guinan is a climatologist with the MU Agriculture Program. He says June temperatures throughout the state were four to six degrees above average, and it was the hottest June on record since 1957.
The heat wasn’t selective, Guinan says, but the precipitation was. And that’s where Southeast Missouri stands out like a bullseye.
While Missouri farm staples like corn and soybeans are weathering the extremes, potato, rice and cotton farmers in the Southern part of the state are losing crops due to extreme heat with no rain. Those without irrigation systems are expecially hurting.
Where there was heat and lots of rain, crops flourished, but in Southeast Missouri, where a veritable drought is ongoing, crops are struggling to survive. Some areas have gone more than a month without a drop of rain.
“The heat has made for some very long days for our crew,” Gregg Halverson, president and chief executive officer of Black Gold Potatoes told The Southeast Missourian. “I would estimate the longevity of the potatoes has been shortened somewhat, and we’re working very hard to get them out of the fields.” (Black Gold Potatoes has a facility in Charleston.)
As forecasters predict more relentless heat over the next several days, it appears many farmers won’t be getting a break anytime soon.