NewsLocal News


Drought conditions impacting Kansas farmers

Posted at 12:27 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 19:43:40-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Farmers in many counties in the Midwest are dealing with drought and in Johnson County, Kan., farmers are affected by moderate to severe drought this growing season.

This map by the United States Drought Monitor shows the eastern part of the country is in moderate drought and the southwestern part of the county is dealing with severe drought.

This could impact growers of corn and soybeans, among other crops.

Ted Guetterman farms 11,000 acres of land in Miami and Johnson and other counties that are affected by space rainfall. 

“It takes a lot of water to keep that plant green when it gets hot,” explained Guetterman, who said they are still very hopeful for the crop’s yield.

In June, Johnson County got 10 inches less of rain than it did in 2017.

Precipitation has been low since winter and when that is mixed with high humidity and heat, the soil does hold much moisture. 

The National Weather Service list months of drier than normal conditions and above normal temperatures as the reason for severe drought conditions.

The K-State Research and Extension Office said those contributing factors can impact yield. 

When it came to Guetterman’s wheat crop it certainly did. He said they rounded out 25 percent less of a wheat crop than last year.  

The corn and soybeans still have two months in the ground.

Agriculture and natural resource extension agent Jessica Barnett said one thing growers do not have control over is plant biology.

Many days of 90-100 degree temperatures can make the plant’s pollen less viable, making the plants less likely to produce strong fruits or flowers out of the crop.

“It’s just like us. When you get out in the heat and it’s 95, you need a bottle of water in your hand,” said Guetterman.

He added this year is nothing like the drought Kansas farmers saw in 2012.

“If we continue to see weather as we have now, we could see something similar to the drought of 2012.  Something I don’t think will escape people’s memories,” said Barnett.

Government data shows agriculture has a $750 million direct impact in Johnson County, providing more than 8,000 jobs.