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      Moderate drought and heat threaten Mo. soybeans

      Soybeans are threatened by moderate drought conditions in most of northern Missouri.

      Farmers across mid-Missouri have seen completely different sides of Mother Nature this year.

      The summer started with heavy rain and severe weather at the end of May heading into the first of June, with less active weather until the first full week of August.

      Reporter Jessica Troike with our sister station KRCG in Jefferson City spoke with two farmers in Audrain County dealing with the opposite problem, drought.

      Almost the entire northern half of Missouri is under abnormally dry to severe drought conditions.

      Ron Flatt and his son Brian farm corn, wheat, and soybeans in Audrain, Boone, and Monroe counties.

      They told Troike that they haven't seen measurable rain for at least three weeks and the majority of summer rains came from isolated thunderstorms that were hit or miss at their fields. The dry conditions coupled with last week's intense heat didn't help relieve stress on their soybean plants.

      "What little moisture we have there, there's that much more evaporation, and the heat stress on the plants just takes that moisture away. Any time we take moisture away when they're stressed like this...that really affects the bean yields," Ron Flatt said.

      Dry, hot conditions can cause plants to start releasing beans from their pods, and can even stunt the growth of a bean.

      "Getting into dry conditions like we have now and the week we had last week approaching 100 degree temperatures, it doesn't take very long. Within a matter of days it can abort pods," Flatt said.

      While the dry conditions may cut some of their annual yield, the Flatts said their short season crop will have a better yield this year since it was planted earlier in May when the soil contained more moisture.

      According to the Missouri Soybean Association, soybeans are the leading cash crop in the state with 5.4 million acres, and they brought in $4.5 billion over the last two years before any processing of the bean.

      The Flatts are hoping for either some rainfall soon, or a late frost near the end of October.

      Click here for the complete story and video from KRCG.