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Door County Drought Could Hurt Crops in 2012

In addition to creating fertile fire conditions, this summer’s drought has hurt corn and soybean crops and could dampen expectations for next year’s fruit crops.

“The thing we’re worried most about is the perennial fruit crops as they head into winter without adequate growth,” said Dick Weidman, Superintendent of the Peninsular Agricultural Research Station.

Weidman said his measurements have shown that subsoil moisture content, when measured 18 inches down, is being depleted rapidly.

“This is the time of year that fruit trees are forming flower buds,” he explained. “Cherry and apple harvests for 2012 can be severely affected by their health this fall.”

Buds for perennial fruit trees form in July and August and carry into the following spring. If they’re not fully formed heading into winter they’re more susceptible to temperature fluctuations in late winter and spring.

A dry July is not atypical for Door County, Weidman said, but usually rainfall picks up in mid-August, “after the Door County fair.”

This year the rain never came.