Heat and humidity have put a wrench in a number of activities in the Marshall County area during the past week, and the hot, dry weather is also expected to impact crops.
School activities have been curtailed because of the temperatures that have topped out in the mid-90’s all week. Britton-Hecla dismissed classes at 1:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. No classes were planned in this year’s school calendar for Friday.
Langford Area also dismissed students at 1:30 p.m. both Monday and Tuesday and had not yet made any decisions for later in the week.
Sports practices have also been limited during the week. Britton-Hecla held two practices in the school gym and planned an early morning practice.
One thing that has taken a big jump this week is attendance at the Britton Swimming Pool. Normally the pool has closed for the season when school begins, but lifeguards were available to keep the pool open limited hours through Labor Day.
Area producers are concerned what affects the heat will have on crops. Expectations are that the soybean crop could take a pretty big hit, while the corn will be less affected.
“The heat is not necessarily a bad thing for the corn,” said Joe Gustafson, Full Circle Ag Agronomy Manager. “We should catch up in heat units this week, and we’re still seeing some pretty good corn out there.”
Lack of moisture at this point of the growing season is more critical for beans.
“The beans are what is really getting hurt right now,” Gustafson added, “and the top end of the yield is pretty much gone. There will still be a crop but the hope for the high-end crop just isn’t there.”
Gustafson noted that additional moisture would help finish off the crops, but he said the big thing now is the quality of the crops. He also said that it would be important to have a late frost so that crops could fully mature.
Insects had been predicted to be a problem this year, but Gustafson said that threat never fully materialized.
“We have pockets of bugs but they haven’t been as bad as we expected. As soon as the rain dried up so did the aphids, and we’ve just had pockets of spider mites,” he said.
The hot, humid conditions have not reached the extreme levels that negatively impact area ranchers. In past years a number of cattle have died from heat in the county, but a spokesperson at the Sjovall Feed Lot south of Britton said the weather this week had not forced them to do anything out of the ordinary to keep animals cool.
Rainfall for the month of August has totaled just .46 of an inch to date, the driest since only .22 of an inch fell in 1970. The .46 total also is the fifth driest since records began being kept in 1903.
The moisture total for the year is actually above the 100-year average. This year’s total is 16.01 inches, compared to the average of 15.47 inches. Much of that is due to a very wet June when 6.29 inches was recorded, well above the average for the month of 3.75.
July’s total rainfall was also a bit below normal, coming in at 1.98 inches compared to the average of 2.88.
Hi Low Prec
Aug. 21 93 65
Aug. 22 85 56
Aug. 23 87 62
Aug. 24 94 74
Aug. 25 93 72
Aug. 26 95 72
Aug. 27 95 69
(North Star Energy Records)