PETERSBURG, Ky. - A local farmer is irrigating to beat the dry conditions, but now he is concerned about the triple-digit temperatures.
Rod Stephenson of Sandyland Acres Farm in Petersburg, Ky. has been working the land there during his entire life. About 20 years ago, he started growing kernels to harvest.
"That's about all we do," Stephenson said.
His spring crop has come in with sweet success, but now he is concerned about his late spring and early summer rounds of corn. The reason is not the water, because he irrigates from an aquifer about 80 feet below his property.
"It'll pump like 130 gallons a minute," Stephenson said. "We can water the whole farm that way."
Watering will keep the stalks healthy, but that will have little to do with pollination.
"If it stays in these hundred degrees, when [the crop] pollinates, it won't make," Stephenson said. "In the 90's we might have a chance."
The 100 degree plus temperatures "cooks the pollen," according to Boone County Extension Agent Jerry Brown. Basically, the pollen dries up and will not attach to the silks, where the kernels form on the cob.
Stephenson said that the temperatures need to cool down within the next five days for his midsummer yield to produce enough to keep his prices from rising. Currently, he is charging five dollars for a dozen ears.
To supplement farming the 53 acre farm, Sandlyland Acres began hosting a haunted house and hay ride a few years ago. Stephenson said that the opening day is Sept. 20. He said the entertainment industry is fun, but prefers yielding ears.
"I still want to raise sweet corn no matter what," Stephenson said. "I'm gonna keep on doing that."
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