The Edmond Sun

Local News

July 30, 2012

Heat withering local farm efforts

EDMOND — Agriculture in and around Edmond is experiencing the withering affect of drought.

Extreme heat continues in Edmond this week as an area of high pressure remains on parts of the south-central U.S., according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures soaring above the century mark are forecast through Friday, according to the NWS, but drop to 100 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

“What we mostly have are hobby farmers,” said Farmer’s Grain owner Chris Suenram. “Most of them are deciding with the prices of grains, feeds going up, they’re just basically deciding to get out of it. It definitely has its toll.”

Farmer’s Grain in downtown Edmond is in its 90th year of business, offering feed and fertilizer as well as lawn and garden items.

Last Aug. 22, Edmond topped 100 degrees for the 51st time of the summer, breaking the 1980 record for the most days at or above 100.

“We had it last year and some people weathered that. With this one, they might say this is enough,” Suenram said.

The difference this year is that the prices of grain and feed went up but did not go back down, he said. Now the price of grain is going up from last year’s all-time high.

“What it will affect, when the price of corn goes up, all the other grains will follow what corn does. They play follow the leader,” he said of supply and demand. Corn is currently priced at $8.12 a bushel.

The wheat crop was harvested at the end of May into June, so the drought has not impacted the earlier crop as much, Suenram said. However, he said planting a new crop of wheat on time could be delayed if central Oklahoma does not get rain anytime soon.

Farmer’s Grain is also feeling the heat.

“People just don’t like to do anything. It’s just slowing everything down,” Suenram said.

People are taking their cattle to market so they don’t have to feed them anymore when the grass is dying, he continued. Some hay producers are holding on to their hay thinking the price will go up, he said.

“Now with no rain they’re not going to get any late cuttings,” Suenram said.

Crestview Farms in Arcadia has been a certified organic farm since 2003, said Susan Graff, owner. Tomatoes, peppers, garlic, fruits, greens and eggplant are among the produce items grown at the farm.

“The blackberries have kind of taken it on the chin because of the last year,” Graff said. “But yes, it is challenging to try to keep things alive until we get some rain and hopefully some cooler weather.”

The Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport had a temperature of 106 degrees at 2 p.m. Monday with a projected high of 108 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

A high near 108 degrees with sunny conditions is in the forecast for Tuesday. Southwest wind is predicted from 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph, according to the NWS. Mostly clear skies and a low around 77 is expected during the night with south wind 9 to 16 mph, gusting as high as 23 mph.

 Wednesday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny conditions with a high near 108 degrees, according to the NWS.

Graff suggests using soaker hoses in gardens instead of sprinklers to provide more conservative watering. She uses a timer for the water to begin late in the evening for a few hours. Mulching with dried grass clippings or hay also helps to preserve moisture, she said.

Graff also uses water to keep her dogs cool. They have a children’s pool to lay in when they get hot.

TO LEARN MORE about Crest View Farms, go to www.crestvieworganicfarms.net. For more information about Farmer’s Grain, visit http://farmersgrainokc.com.

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