Drought Serves Up Bumper Crop Of Pumpkins

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

(CBS NEWS) McHENRY, Ill. -- Vernon Stade says this year's drought proved to be the worst ever for his corn crop in his 35 years of farming in the northern Illinois town of McHenry.

Days of triple-digit heat this summer, combined with no rain, cut his corn yield in half, and devastated farms in many parts of the country.

But that lack of rain that was so bad for Stade's corn crop this year actually provided the perfect conditions for another crop -- one that's ready for harvest just in time for Halloween: Pumpkins.

"Pumpkins are what we call a semi-arid crop," Stade explains. "They love dry weather. And that's because pumpkins have large leaf surfaces and they capture sunlight very effectively. ... What interferes with that is lots of moisture on the leaf surface, which causes bacteria to grow."

But less rain this summer meant fewer bacteria -- and more pumpkins now, for customers to pick.

And plenty for the pumpkin-themed attractions Stade offers, such as a pumpkin cannon which, as its name implies, shoots pumpkins out like cannonballs.

"I'm very happy to have this large crop," Stade says. "People come out and they're just totally amazed."

In a tough year for farmers, pumpkins are a smashing success.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email: feedback@wibw.com
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 174021551 - wibw.com/a?a=174021551