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Michigan Farmers Welcome Rain As Crops Struggle

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A farm in Michigan. (credit: istock)

A farm in Michigan. (credit: istock)

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WARREN (WWJ) – Is this steady rain enough to take the edge off the drought for local farmers?

Not really, according to Dave Kutchey, whose family owns a large farm in Macomb County. He said everyone is grateful for the rain — but they could have used all this a few months ago.

“Everything that we’re picking now, we needed it in June, because it’s already grown and we’re harvesting … so it’s not going to help anything that we’re picking now, it’s going to help all the later crops,” Kutchey said. “As a farmer we do depend on Mother Nature, so it will help all the pumpkins and the squash and all of those items that come in the fall.”

Kutchey said the lack of rain has been especially hard on the tomato crop.

“Tomatoes are having a hard time ripening — and even talking with customers coming into the market, all of the backyard gardeners, because of all the hot, dry weather that they’re not turning red, they’re not ripening. They’re almost getting stressed out with all the drought and the heat,” Kutchey  said.

Kutchey said the green bean crop is about half its normal size, and corn is coming in smaller and sparser.

That’s in line with what the Agriculture Department reported Friday — forecasting U.S. corn growers could end up with their lowest average yield in 17 years.

The USDA is slashing its projected U.S. corn production forecast for the year to 10.8 billion bushels, down from its forecast last month of nearly 13 billion bushels – and a dramatic 13 percent decrease from 2011, with average yields projected to be at their lowest since 1995.

Since corn is used to feed cattle, some are predicting meat prices could soar. (More on this from CBS News).

MORE:  Drought Killing Christmas Trees

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