market

Raymond Lanman sells Josephine Foster a bag of potatoes at the Ottumwa Farmer's Market on Wednesday. Courier photo/Scott Niles

OTTUMWA — Crops and vegetables were starting to look good until the heat arrived.

Larry Kinsinger, a farmer from rural Ottumwa, said the growing season started out really good, until the last few weeks of summer heat crept in.

“The corn is starting to dry up and it is not retaining its natural moisture,” he said.

Kinsinger said if this continues, a good portion of the crops could be lost. When the heat comes, about the only thing to do is pray for rain.

Kinsinger added that the lack of moisture is starting to put a stress on the crops. When crops are stressed, the leaves start to curl up and in the case of corn, the kernels don't grow as big.

Kinsinger said he will have enough corn to feed his pigs, but he is not sure yet how the yields will turn out for the season.

“It’s a little early to tell now,” he said. “We started out good, then it has gotten hot and humid... but we could always get some rain soon and that would change things a little.”

Corn is not the only crop that has growers concerned.

Looking around at the Ottumwa Farmer’s Market, vegetables seem to be plentiful, but that’s due to hard work and constant attention, said vendor Dennis Cottrell of Ottumwa.

Cottrell said this season is starting to look like 2005.

“We have had to use a lot more water on the plants this year and last,” he said. “We have a sandpoint water system that we have to run almost every other day. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t have any vegetables to sell... they would be all burnt up.”

He and his wife, Linda, said they have spent quite a bit of money this year on water bills, which has cut into their profits.

Fellow vendors Raymond and Delorris Lanman of Ottumwa said the warm weather has taken its toll.

“We don’t have a water system,” Raymond Lanman said. “We have had to haul some water to the plants each day.”

He said they have hauled about 400 gallons of water to nourish the plants.

“I have been hauling it in 55 gallon barrels,” he said.

“I hope it rains soon.”

Scott Niles can be reached at (641) 683-5360 or via e-mail at sjniles@mchsi.com.

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