MABA president Jim Byrum: Rainfall roller coaster causing uncertainty for Michigan farmers
On this week's Ag Report on Greening of the Great Lakes, Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, discusses the dramatic swings in rainfall throughout the 2016 growing season – from drought this spring, to heavy precipitation in recent weeks – and how it impacts Michigan's farmers.
"It's ironic that after a severe drought across the state of Michigan this summer, the rain we are seeing this fall will ultimately lead to average rainfall for the 2016 crop year," says Byrum. "This is an example of how the word 'average' does not completely inform Michigan residents on how this year's crops will be affected."
Byrum says late rainfall is having serious impacts on many crops across Michigan, from corn to wheat and dry beans.
After a banner harvest for wheat this summer, wheat planting planned for the fall will be delayed in some areas because of wet soil. Dry bean harvest is underway, but the late, wet weather has delayed harvest and in some cases hurt crop quality.
Sugarbeet yields are increasing as the late rain helps boost yields, although it's likely to be less than last year's record level. Sugar content of the beets is also less than last year.
"This growing season is a picture-perfect example of the major swings, heavy drought and precipitation events that are throwing curveballs at farmers," says Byrum. "It's another reminder of the challenges we face, and will face from climate change and extreme weather. And right now, for Michigan farmers, it's posed major uncertainty as we move through fall harvest."
You can hear this week's report here.
The Ag Report on Greening of the Great Lakes is brought to you by the Agricultural Leaders of Michigan. It airs weekly on News/Talk 760 WJR and features voices from Michigan's growing agriculture sector.