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Prayin’ for Rain . . .

July 17, 2009

On my drive into the office this morning I noticed for the first time in the AM hours the crops are showing signs of drought stress. I’ve been seeing signs of stress but always in the hot afternoon sun. Recently an older farmer passed on a few words of wisdom about drought stress . . . “If you see the signs in the afternoon, but come morning the leaves look happy and healthy, you’ve got nothing to worry about”.

drought stress corn

I totally agree with these words of wisdom. When a plant starts to loss to much moisture, via transpiration, it’s leaves will curl up to reduce surface area. This is basically the plant’s defense against moisture loss. A lot of times a plant will show signs of drought stress in the hot afternoon sun. This is only temporary, once the temperature drops the plant will return to normal. This temporary defense will not reduce yields.  But once you start seeing the curled leaves in the morning you know that the plant is in need of water. True drought stress is when the leaves are curled for 12 hours or more.  True drought stress will decrease grain yield, especially if it occurs two weeks before and two weeks after pollination.

Even though this summer has been frequented with wet weather, the total amount of precipation in some parts of the state is below normal. A lot of areas received frequent showers, but the volume of total precipation was very minimal. There is a chance of showers this weekend and a lot of crops could use a drink. I know I will be prayin’ for rain . . .

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