Dry conditions in portions of West Michigan make growth for some crops difficult


The hot, dry conditions are making it hard for farmers to grow crops and many of them in West Michigan are desperately hoping for some rain.

In parts of West Michigan it hasn't rained in weeks making the ground dry during a critical time for many vegetable crops.

Larry Walton owns a 500 acre farm near Centreville that looked rather dry.

"There is just no moisture there, the soil just falls apart," Walton said.

The area has only seen seven-tenths of an inch of rain since June 25, which is one inch below average for July. Walton said his biggest crop, corn used to plant during the next growing season, is struggling to get off the ground.

Walton, the president of the St. Joseph County Farmers Bureau, said many area farmers are feeling the heat and intense sunshine.

He said farmers are still dealing with the effects of record setting rainfall from earlier in 2018.

"My neighbors who lived here 30-plus years tell me they've never seen it like this. When we had the big rain in early June, we didn't have the soil capacity to hold all the rain we were getting," said Walton.

Many farmers across St. Joseph County are running center pivot irrigation systems non-stop and the reports of irrigation systems breaking down are wide spread.

"The end guns won't shut off. They're spraying into roads. That's our number one call right now," Todd Kane, owner of Iron Circle Services LLC.

Iron Circle Services LLC. repairs irrigation systems and Kane said many farmers are relying on their irrigation systems, which are aging and are breaking down.

Kane said he can hardly keep up with orders this growing season.

"We're selling more parts than we can keep on the shelves," Kane said.

With the potential for rain within the next week, Walton hopes it provides the big break he needs.

"At that point now we can take an inch of rain and know we hardly missed a beat," Walton said.

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