The Big Tease
By Kim L. Fritzemeier
KFRM Central Kansas Reporter
Farm Wife along the Stafford/Reno County Line
Sunday started with such promise. A blue sky to the west and a faint rainbow over a neighbor's soybean field held the illusion of answered prayers.
No, for farmers and ranchers, the drought means scrambling to find pastures for growing calves and their mamas.
Contrast the pasture photo I took yesterday (above) with the one from June 30 of last year.
That's why Randy is supplementing the limited pasture grasses by feeding hay.
Without some rain this summer, we won't have much hay to feed next winter. The second cutting of alfalfa isn't any better than the first. At the field south of our house, it was again impossible to find a windrow, so Randy decided not to waste the diesel it would take to swath it.
It's not the only show-and-tell photos in my arsenal.
Randy planted a sorghum-sudan cross in this wheat stubble. What? You don't see any green? Neither do we, even with a closer examination. Without a rain, it hasn't emerged from the ground.
Here's a milo field yesterday ...
compared with a photo taken on July 9 of last year.
Even the most optimistic souls are wilting in the face of continued oppressive heat and no rain.
There's not a lot of irrigation in our area because of salt in the groundwater. But I took this photo of a neighbor's irrigated corn field yesterday to illustrate the difference in plants that receive "rain" and those that don't.
The corn plants in the foreground are on the "corners" of the irrigation circle, and the water doesn't reach those plants.
The brown, shriveled leaves are quite a contrast to the green of the corn plants that are watered with the irrigation system.
But with triple-digit heat and no help from Mother Nature, even the irrigated fields are struggling.
Normal rainfall for our area is 24 to 26 inches a year. So far this year, we've gotten about 3 inches of rain.
So we'll keep our eyes on the sky. And we'll keep praying that the rainbow will signal a much-needed rain ... and not just a beautiful optical illusion.
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