INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Weeks of heat and scant rainfall have left most of Indiana facing either drought or unusually dry conditions while farmers hope significant precipitation falls soon.
The U.S. Drought Monitor shows more than a third of Indiana with abnormally dry conditions and another 44% of the state gripped by a moderate drought centered over central, western and southwestern Indiana.
Moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions cover nearly 80% of the state as of Tuesday, according to Thursday's national drought update.
Despite some recent rainfall and a forecast of more on Sunday, Boone County farmer Gerald Mennen is waiting for some prolonged rains to help his stressed crops.
Mennen, who farms about 1,200 acres of corn and soybeans with his wife and son northwest of Indianapolis, said recently that the coming days are critical for his crops.
“The heat has been the worst thing,” he told WTHR-TV.
Many of Indiana’s crops were planted late this spring due to wet field condition. But that was followed in recent weeks by temperatures that soared to near 100 degrees.
“If we don’t get some significant rainfall and nice, slow and steady rain, then we can lose quite a bit,” said Dr. Pat Williams, an educator with Tippecanoe County’s Purdue Cooperative Extension Office.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that as of July 10 less than half of Indiana's corn and soybeans were in good or excellent condition. About 20% of those crops were in either poor or very poor condition.