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Benson crops showing stress

Lead Summary

by Reed Anfinson, Editor, Publisher
Benson broke a record high for Aug. 25 when it reached 93 degrees. The old record was 92 degrees set in 1959. That 92-degree high was the lowest high temperature record in the month of August. Now there are three dates, Aug. 10, Aug. 25 and Aug. 31 with record highs of 93 degrees.
The city also broke a record for the highest low temperature for Aug. 25 when it only fell to 73 degrees. The old record was 72 degrees set in 1960.
It also hit 93 degrees Monday, but the record high for Aug. 26 is 99 degrees set in 1976.
Temperatures have been somewhat cooler than forecast, thankfully with temps not in the 90s until Sunday.
While not only humans are trying to stay cool, remember shut ins, elderly, young and animals, all who may have a hard time paying attention to their bodies signals.  The graph in the picture shows how quickly a car can heat up - bring stress to both humans and pets alike.  Temperature at the Municipal Airport in Benson at 3 p.m. was 91 degrees with 72 percent dewpoint.
Excessive heat warnings continue for the area through today.
At the end of July, 74 percent of Minnesota’s cropland had adequate to a surplus of moisture. Drought conditions were all but gone from most of the state.
But one month later the lack of rain over the past six weeks is beginning to show. Since July 16, just 8 tenths of an inch of rain has fallen in the Benson area.
Now what could be a stretch of seven days or more of 90-degree highs is putting additional stress on crops already short of soil moisture.
“Until Aug. 20, crop stress had been fairly minimal, due to the cooler than normal temperatures,” Farm Management Analyst Ken Thiesse says in this week’s column. “However, the recent hot weather trend is causing crops in some areas to deteriorate rapidly. There will likely be some significant yield reduction in the hardest hit areas.”
As of Sunday, 66 percent of the state’s cropland is short or very short of topsoil moisture. Fifty-six percent of the subsoil is short or very short of moisture.
A weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 81 percent of Minnesota is now abnormally dry or worse.

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