Photo: Jessica Salmond
The significance of the record drought that’s hit the Midwest cannot be underestimated.We asked University of Missouri journalism student Jessica Salmond to help tell the story of the devastation.
She visited the corn and soy bean farm of Tim Reinbott, who is also a research associate and superintendent at Bradford Research and Extension centre in Columbia, Missouri.
Reinbott said he hadn’t seen conditions like this since 1980 — and this is worse.
“We just haven’t had a break,” he told us. “It started so early — mid-May, which is unheard of.”
The farm, 880 acres, is 60 per cent commercial. He said he anticipates losing $200,000 in sales, and double or triple that amount in terms of sunk research costs. They’ve already had to turn away students for the fall semester, he said, while others will have to stay on a full year more to complete research that got fried in this year’s crop.
Reinbott predicted that this field would only produce 30 per cent of its previous harvest. He said that many farmers are looking at a similar situation
Reinbott breaks a cob in half to display smaller than average kernels and rows. The cobs had rows of around 14 kernels, which shows that the drought began at the early stages of the corn's growth
Reinbott indicates how long the corn cob should be. Because of the lack of water, the cob's growth is stunted
Reinbott looks at the stalk's leaves, which are curled up. He said the curling is the corn's attempt to retain what little water it may have
Reinbott indicates that even the taller stalks at Bradford Research centre are far shorter than normal
Tim Reinbott points out that the kernels on the top of the cob never filled out, leaving the cob nearly half empty
Graduate student Craig Solomon displays the cob. Although the size of the cob is good, and decent kernels grew on the bottom half, the top half is blank
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