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Drought is creating a dreary outlook for Missouri farmers, but it wasn’t until mid-July that some of them realized just how bad it was. Farmers in pockets of severe drought now say they have a huge problem: entire fields of corn that didn’t even pollinate.

What held the promise as one of their best crops ever quickly diminished in central and eastern Missouri, especially as the waiting game for rain played out the majority of the summer. Kyle Samp, a farmer in Cairo, Mo., says some of his family’s fields have only had a few inches of rain all year.

As you take a drive across his area, a view from the road gives glimpses into production problems Samp has experienced.  

“Looking at these outside rows, this is what I would expect for as dry as it’s been where the plants don’t have a good color and all the bottom leaves are burned up. That’s what I’d expected to see,” he says.

The outside rows look OK, but when you walk a little deeper into his fields you realize their appearance is deceiving. The corn inside the fields are lush and green, which gives the impression that Samp’s corn crop was able to weather the drought this year. But as Samp peels back the husks on the hears he grabs from those stalks, it’s evident the drought did extensive damage to his corn crop.

“We’ve got an ear here where you can see we have a lot of misses on part of it. We have plants right next to it that you know the silks are starting to dry up,” says Samp.

As Samp checks ear after ear in his field, it’s clear the drought is diminishing Samp’s outlook for harvest.

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