Welcome rain for crops in the region

Aug. 9 – TRAVERSE CITY – Dan Hall corn was getting a little fried with too much hot sun and not enough rain.

But an irrigation system keeps his sweet corn damn sweet.

“We have an absolutely magnificent corn crop,” Hall said. “If we didn’t have an irrigation system, we wouldn’t have one.”

In fact, Hall Farms’ sweet corn can already be purchased at its North Long Lake Road stand.

From last Wednesday through mid-Monday, about 2 1/2 inches of rain fell in Grand Traverse County, said Harold Dippman, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Gaylord.

Benzie County received 2 to 3 inches of rain in some spots on Wednesday, Dippman said, and in Leelanau County the heaviest rains occurred north of the Suttons Bay area, where some spots received more than 2 inches on Monday alone.

“It’s not unprecedented,” Dippman said. “It’s in the range of average. But as dry as it has been this summer, any rain is greatly appreciated.”

The next few days will be drier, with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, he noted.

Over the past two years, heavy rains, along with record high water levels, have overwhelmed the city’s sewage system, damaged area businesses and stranded people on impassable roads. No flooding has been reported in recent days.

Nikki Rothwell, director of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Bingham Township, said most tart cherries are off the trees.

Harvesting of the last of them was delayed in some orchards that were too wet to bring in shaking equipment, Rothwell said.

But the rain is great for wine grapes, apples and corn, she added.

“It’s been a very dry summer and we could use it,” Rothwell said.

Hall said corn season usually lasts until August and he would like to have it until Labor Day, but that also depends on Mother Nature. If the temperatures are in the 90s, the corn ripens very quickly.

“It would have been nice if it had happened in June or July,” Hall said. “It’s more than we need right now, but we’ll take it.”

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