Warm Weather Dries Fields, Presents Drought Stress


The warm streak in July has been somewhat welcome in area farm fields.

That’s according to Purdue Extension Agricultural Educator Phil Woolery. He says warming temperatures and a lack of precipitation in the area the second half of July has allowed time for soil to dry. That follows what is considered a record breaking year for moisture in June.

Woolery says there has been a bit of recovery in corn in some areas.

“Sandier soils with better drainage, they drain quite nicely,” says Woolery. “But I talked to a farmer and said he’s irrigating one field, but in the next field over in the muck soils the wetter soils like they’re hoping it will dry out so they can get in there and harvest the mint.”

The mint harvest is now underway in the immediate area. Dryer weather is thought to help cultivate the oils necessary in the plant.

While fields are now drying with warm temperatures, the excess moisture during the planting period may have stunted root growth. According to Woolery, shallow roots put plants at an increased risk for drought stressors.

He says he’s not as concerned about the warm weather as he is the lack of rain.

“The shallow roots won’t be able to reach the moisture lower in the soil,” says Woolery. “So it won’t be as much concern for farmers with irrigation in the field, but other fields, it might be a concern.”

Those irrigation techniques can help maintain proper moisture levels.