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Post corn report

Farmer John Grimes standing in his corn field.

Farmer John Grimes standing in his corn field.

“Knee-high by the fourth of July” is an ages-old yardstick we tend to think of when we see corn around this time of year. With modern techniques, however, it’s usually much higher at this time. In Farmer John Grimes’ field in Sand Lake, the sweet corn looks to be about 5-feet high. In some parts of southwestern Michigan, it is already being harvested. News is not so rosy everywhere, however.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, symptoms of plant water stress were evident in many spots last week, especially across the southwestern Lower Peninsula. Unusually high temperatures made it even worse during the past week. Forty-one percent of corn acres were rated poor or very poor. That compares with sixty percent at this time in the drought year of 1988.

All across the state, the heat and dry weather were beginning to take their toll on vegetables; especially on vegetables in non-irrigated fields.

It will be several weeks yet before they know of the affect of the heat on the corn crop. But without rain, they expect lower yields, which could drive up the price of corn, beef, milk and poultry.

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