Dry weather affecting farms and lawns

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Clayton Township (WJRT) - (7/5/16) - It's been several weeks since we've had significant rain over much of mid-Michigan. And that's beginning to worry farmers and fruit producers.

Farmers aren't ready to panic yet, but they say we're approaching the point where substantial rain must come soon or the harvest will be greatly reduced.

Apple trees planted this spring aren't thriving in the dry weather. Leaves are starting to curl.

"Twice a week we've been going through and giving them a gallon and a half of water. That's maintaining them but they're not doing really well," said Jim Koan, Al Mar Orchards.

Pear trees aren't holding up either.

"We've had droughts before but not this early, this long," said Jim Koan.

"They just have to hope and pray that we have a good rain storm that comes through and a good amount of rain. Rainfall is about 2- 2 1/2 inches short of where we normally are for the month of May and June," said Bob Tritten, of the MSU Extension.

Some locations in mid-Michigan have not felt the effects of the dry spell. But those that have will tell you it's serious business.

"Genesee County, Shiawassee County and up in to Saginaw County are very dry, probably the worst in the region," said Tritten.

Field crops are also suffering in the dry weather. Soybeans are stunted and field corn is not knee high by the Fourth of July.

"We got enough showers to get the crop out of the ground but from then on it's been pretty dry," said Mike Koan, a Genesee County farmer.

If the dry spell continues, harvesting these crops in the fall could be disappointing.

"I'm optimistic. If we can get some rain, we're going to go yet. But if just depends. If we stay in this pattern we're in, just a little trickle of rain, just isn't going to cut it," said Koan.

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