July 5, 2012

Do or Die Time for Local Crops in Need of Rain

Scattered rain across parts of southern Scotland County brought some much needed temporary relief over the weekend, but left residents in the north thirsting for more precipitation as the drought is entering the devastating stages for farmers.

Rain reports of between 1.5 to 2 inches of precipitation came in from the Bible Grove and Rutledge areas while Memphis and the surrounding areas measured only .1 to .2 inches of rain on Saturday and Sunday.

"I think we have lost one-third of the yield potential on the corn," said Jardin Fuller of J & J Ag in Scotland County whose farm wasn't one of the fortunate ones to receive more than just a sprinkle of rain during the weekend storms. "Give it another week and I think that loss could be doubled."

With a normal output of 160 bushels an acre, by Fuller's estimates, many farmers have seen their production cut to 120 bushels by the drought. At $6 a bushel corn, the drought may have already cost farmers $360 an acre. For a producer with 500 acres, no rain has meant a loss of $180,000 in income, with the potential for even more loss.

The USDA Missouri crop report issued July 2nd revealed high temperatures and little to no precipitation across most of the state took its toll on crops last week as all crops declined in condition. Corn condition rated poor to very poor increased 22 points to 48 percent while soybeans rated poor to very poor increased 14 points to 49 percent.

Topsoil moisture declined to its lowest point this year at 71 percent very short, 26 percent short, and 3 percent adequate. The 5 year average topsoil moisture condition is 4 percent very short, 16 percent short, 59 percent adequate, and 21 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture also declined to 58 percent very short, 35 percent short, and 7 percent adequate.

According to William Wiebold, professor of plant sciences in the University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, this year's corn needs rain and needs it soon. He indicated the next couple weeks are critical for corn pollination, because silk growth and tassel pollen-shed must be in sync to create corn kernels. That coordination relies on water.

"Silks are at least 99 percent water, and they use it as the driving force to elongate from inside the husk until they emerge outside the husks, or about 10 inches," said Wiebold. "If the pollen sheds from the tassel and the silks aren't there, no kernels are produced."

Silk growth is only half of the critical pollination process. If the pollen does reach the silk, a tube created by the pollen grain must be able to grow down the silk to where the kernel will be, according to Wiebold. He added that there has to be enough water to keep the corn silk wet enough for the pollen tube to grow through its entire length to reach the ear.

"This coordination process, colloquially called nick, is so important that if dry, hot conditions prevent it, you could see a 30-40 percent yield loss," Wiebold said.

The professor noted that a typical ear will have 12 to 14 rows, each with 35 to 40 potential kernels, he said. Lose just three kernels per row and that's a substantial yield loss.

The lack of rain is having other negative effects on corn. Normally, corn tasseling occurs when plants are 7, maybe 8 feet tall, according to Wiebold. Water pushes that growth.

"There are reports coming from throughout the state that corn is tasseling at 5 1/2 to 6 feet tall," Wiebold said. "That's a couple of feet shorter than normal, and it's because there's wasn't enough water to increase plant cell size."

Corn leaf blades are coming in smaller for the same reason. All these stresses put this season's corn yield in question.

"Probably the next two weeks will really determine what our yield will be," Wiebold said. "Some places that had rain, like northwest Missouri, will see less yield loss. Places like St. Charles County and along the rivers, which have deeper soils with good water-holding capacity, should also experience less yield loss."

Places that have seen little rain, have claypan soils or have compacted soils will experience large yield losses if rain doesn't come soon. A heavy yield hit in the Corn Belt could send ripples through the futures market.

"The Chicago futures market will start calling around to the states to see what the weather is like," Wiebold said. "It's really important and it can drive the market price that farmers will receive."

Less corn produced would mean higher prices, putting pressure on livestock producers who feed corn. At the end of this food chain, consumers could see sticker shock for meat and dairy products.

While the corn situation is critical, soybeans are nearing the do or die point as well.

"Give it another week or 10 days and I figure we could loss 20 bushels an acre on the soybeans," Fuller stated.

With soybean prices at $14 a bushel, the potential loss would be around $280 an acre. That same farmer with 500 acres of beans, would be looking at a loss of $140,000.

"I would say no rain in the next two weeks and the guy with 1,000 acres will be looking at loses of half a million dollars or more," Fuller said.

The problem dates back to a particularly arid spring according to University of Missouri climatologist Pat Guinan with the MU Extension commercial agriculture program. Only 4 inches of rain was recorded across most of Missouri in May and June. Normal rainfall is 10 inches.

"So we have a 6-inch moisture deficit going into what are normally the hottest and drier months of summer," said Guinan.

In addition to the rain shortage, January-to-June temperatures show the warmest average on record in 118 years. The state continues to set heat records: Third warmest winter, warmest March and warmest spring.

"It's a unique growing season," Guinan said. "High heat and lack of rain indicate possible prolonged drought."

That brings back memories of some of the state's tougher times.

"It's beginning to look a lot like 1988," said Wiebold.

Guinan noted that 1988 was one of the three worst droughts of the last century. That includes the mid-1950s and the dust bowl days of the 1930s.

"We're not there yet," Guinan says. "But you do have to go back to 1988 to find a drier May and June than we've had this year. Hot, dry weather in the spring isn't a good start."

Normally, May and June are the wettest months of the year in Missouri.

"This year, we're short on soil moisture. There's no reserve in the top 12 inches and subsoil is not much better," he says. Soil moisture supports crop growth during hot months, supplemented by normal rainfall."

In many parts of Missouri, a foot of soil is all there is. Below the topsoil lies claypan or rock. Iowa and Illinois cornfields tend to have deeper soils with more water reserves. That can make a difference in plant survival, according to Guinan.

A National Weather Service outlook for July issued at the end of June shows below-normal precipitation and above-normal temperatures for the month ahead. Usually, July is the hottest month of the year.

A drought has many facets, Guinan noted. There is the lack of precipitation. That is combined this year with high temperatures, an unusual number of sunny days and low relative humidity. Humidity levels run 20 to 30 percent by midafternoon, day in and day out.

"We've already had temperatures in triple digits, most unusual for June," he said. "Strong winds and low humidity boost water evaporation, creating plant stress."

The buildup of solar energy on the soil intensifies drought effects, according to Guinan. Sunshine boosts evapotranspiration, the water use by plants combined with evaporation from soil surfaces.

Plant transpiration pulls moisture out of the soil. Evaporation removes water from the surface, including ponds and lakes.

The Bootheel remains the driest part of the state, which now rates as extreme drought on the National Drought Monitor. Most of the rest of the state ranks as moderate drought.

"Some areas of northwestern and western Missouri received 'million-dollar rains' in late June to keep crops growing," said Guinan.

Wiebold, who oversees crop variety test plots across the state, looked at 1988 yield reports. "Then we had lots of corn that made only 10 bushels per acre," he says.

Regional extension agronomists report some cornfields with "rootless corn syndrome." Lack of soil moisture when corn was planted hurt growth of strong roots. Brace roots, which emerge at the soil surface level, failed to extend into dry soils.

Recently, strong winds blew over cornstalks in northeastern Missouri. "That corn is dead," Wiebold says.

Short-term forecasts into early July show daily temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. "There is a dire need for moisture," Guinan adds. "June ranks sixth driest on record."

Guinan encourages public reports on local conditions to the Drought Monitor participation page. The Drought Monitor is a source used by USDA in assessing drought disasters. Authors of the Drought Monitor pay attention to public reports, Guinan says.

Anyone can contribute at http://droughtreporter.unl.edu.

The 2012 drought has become a widespread concern and now covers much of the Corn Belt.

SC Little Paw’s to Host Fall Fest October 29th


Would you like your children, daughters or sons, to have a great day of fun, dancing and playing group games with the Scotland County High School Little Paws?  Then mark October 29th on your calendar because from 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m. at the Scotland County High School, a day of learning large group and small group routines, and playing games with the SC Little Paws is something your child can look forward to.  The day will also include snacks and cheek cheers.

Parents are encouraged to attend their child’s performance of their routine at 2:00 p.m.

The cost for the day will be $15, which includes a t-shirt and snacks.  The children will need to bring a sack lunch.

Please sign up by October 21st so we can make sure each child receives a t-shirt.  The pom clinic is open to all girls and boys from three years to 8th grade.  Call Marie Brown at 465-2036 to register or with any questions.

We will also have our Yummy-Lix Lollipops available to the children for fifty cents each if they are interested.  And if you did not receive a pom calendar we will have some available for $5 each.

Hope to see you and your child/children on the 29th!

Downing House Hosts Candlelit Tour of the Past


The Downing House Museum Complex and members of the community hosted an “Evening at the Museum – Candlelit Tour of the Past” this past weekend, October 14th and 15th.  Approximately 240 people attended the event, raising $1,200.00. Volunteers portrayed various characters and wrote their own dialogue for the two-night performance.  Characters included: a one-room school teacher (Lois Quenneville), William Downing (Joe Fulk, who also provided the welcome), Dr. A. M. Keethler (Harlo Donelson), Ella Ewing (Teresa Cotton), the Depot ticket master (Tom Cotton), Tom Horn (Jeff Dyer), a Civil War soldier (Chris Kempke), a barber (Larry Riney), Granny Green (Anna Lynn Kirkpatrick), and a blacksmith (Frank Wineinger).  Tour guides for the evening included Lynette Dyer, Rhonda McBee, Leslie Clark, Mary Ann Kirkpatrick, Janet Hamilton, Brooke Wineinger, Angie Wentworth, Elle Wentworth, Melissa Miler, Gary Miller, Angela Westhoff, Scott Westhoff, and Jan Slayton.  Box office volunteers were Debbie Seamster, Ruth Ann Cairn and Pam Shalley.  Sheila Berkowitz made the flyers, tickets and videotaped the event.  Pam Shalley served as photographer.  Elaine Forrester provided refreshments including cookies, punch and wassail and Alisa Kigar’s 4-H group donated some of the cookies.







Photos by Pam Shalley

Hospital Pharmacy Celebrates National Pharmacy Week      

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

Scotland County Hospital Pharmacy staff members (L to R) Dani Waterman, CPhT, Matt McKee, RPh, and Jennifer Laws, BSPS will be honored as part of National Pharmacy Week October 16-22.

The Scotland County Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is celebrating National Pharmacy Week, October 16 –  22.  Pharmacy Week acknowledges the invaluable contributions that pharmacists and technicians make to patient care in hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other healthcare settings.  During Pharmacy Week, Scotland County Hospital celebrates and recognizes the significant role that our Hospital Pharmacy plays as a member of the healthcare team.

The Hospital’s Pharmacy Department is staffed by Matt McKee RPh, Director of Pharmacy, Jennifer Laws BSPS, Supervisor of the Pharmacy Department and Danielle Waterman CPhT, Certified Pharmacy Technician.  No matter the time of day or night, our physicians can write an order for a medication for our in-patients and the medication will be administered promptly after interactions have been checked, thanks to the staff in the Pharmacy Department and their cooperation with the physicians and nurses at Scotland County Hospital as well as the staff of Scotland County Pharmacy and Blessing Hospital pharmacists.

Many patients and their families are not aware that the Hospital’s pharmacy staff play a critical role in preventing medication errors, collaborating with other disciplines to optimally manage patients medication needs, improving safety and patient outcomes, and advising prescribers on the best drug choices, all while maintaining the proper inventory to meet the needs of the patients.

Although medicine can make you well, it can also harm you if it is not taken the right way. That’s why you need to know all you can about all the medicine you take. While you’re at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis, MO, the pharmacy staff is here to make sure that you receive the best and safest medications that aid you in your comfort and recovery.

Scotland County Speedway to Host Memphis Fall Nationals this Weekend


Racing action will return to the Scotland County Speedway this weekend for the annual Memphis Fall Nationals. The local track will host a two-day show October 21st and 22nd featuring modifieds, stock cars, sportmods, hobby stocks, sport compacts and late models.

With temps expected be in the high 60’s as highs and around 50 for the lows, the racing will continue this weekend at the Scotland County Speedway for the Fall Nationals,” said promoter Mike Van Genderen. “This show has been a huge tradition for many years and has become one of the favorite shows for many racers.”

Curt Marks of Dubuque Moving and Storage has added to the late model purse, making it $1,000 to win, which should add to the field of fastest cars at the speedway.

The track will host open practice for all classes from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Hot laps will start at 7 p.m. on Friday night and at 6 p.m. for Saturday’s show.

With modifieds, sportsmods, stock cars and now late models all vying or a $1,000 top prize, the track is expecting a large car count as the 2016 racing season winds down across the Midwest.

The races will also be broadcast live on Speed Shift TV at www.speedshiftTV.com.

Cayden Carter captured victories on both nights of the Memphis Bottom Heavy Nationals held at the start of the month at SCS with his 10C modified. The Oskaloosa driver will be looking to keep his streak alive.

Tommy Elston was the winner in the late models while Jason Cook and Jeff Mueller staged a battle in the stock cars, splitting the wins.

More than two dozen sportmods participated in the Bottom Heavy Nationals, with the stock cars and modifieds also more than 20 racers, numbers the Fall Nationals should duplicate or exceed.

Grandstand tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for students. Pit passes will be $30 nightly or $55 for the two-day show.

For more info contact Mike Van Genderen at 6441-521-0330.

Missouri Department of Insurance Offers Free Assistance To Seniors During Medicare Open Enrollment 

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Insurance is encouraging Missourians eligible for Medicare to review their plan options and costs during this year’s open enrollment. To help Missouri consumers choose a plan that best meets their needs, the department offers free assistance through the CLAIM program.

CLAIM provides unbiased help to Missourians on Medicare and their caregivers. During the annual open enrollment period, which runs October 15 through December 7, consumers can change their Part D drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plans.

“Plans and prices can change from year to year and what you had last year may not be what is right for you this year,” said John Huff, director of the Insurance Department. “Contacting a CLAIM counselor could result in better coverage, more savings or both.”

Missouri consumers can ask questions by phone or arrange one-on-one counseling by calling 1-800-390-3330 or visiting missouriclaim.org. The website also offers a list of free open enrollment events that CLAIM is hosting throughout Missouri during open enrollment.

CLAIM can also assist consumers, who have limited income, determine if they qualify for programs to help lower the cost of prescription drugs.

Consumers with complaints or questions about insurance can call the department’s Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department’s seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

Haunted House/Safe Stops Coming Soon!


by Andrea Brassfield

With Halloween less than two weeks away, local organizations are preparing activities for area trick-or-treaters.  On Thursday, October 27th, the Scotland County Care Center is hosting their first annual Haunted House.  The event will be open from 5:00-7:00 p.m. and admission is a free will donation.  The Haunted House will be located at the front entrance/activity room of the Care Center.  Everyone is invited.

The Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce is also hosting their annual Safe Stops on Monday, October 31st from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Children may visit Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce members for Trick-or-Treating.

You will see a bright orange flyer at participating businesses which have treats for the costumed little ones.  Crossing guards will also be posted at each corner of the Memphis Square where most of the members will be set up.

There are several MACC members who do not have a store front on or near the square, but do have treats at their business locations on Highway 136 and Highway 15.  Names of the participating MACC businesses will be published in the Memphis Democrat.  Only those businesses with an orange flyer are officially recognized as a Safe Stop.  A parent or adult should accompany the children.

As a reminder, Harlo Donelson is offering a Halloween Candy Buy Back.  The dental office will pay $4.00 per pound for your goodies, $3.00 he will give to you and $1.00 will be donated to the reading program at the elementary school.

Along with the candy and costumes comes the need for added caution as youngsters venture out onto the streets to trick-or-treat.  Drivers are asked to be extra safe this weekend.  Popular trick-or-treating hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those times.

Children should be reminded to walk with an adult, remain on well-lit streets, if sidewalks aren’t available, walk on the far edge of the roadway facing traffic, and never cross between parked cars or out of driveways.

Have a Safe and Happy Halloween!!!

Chinese Delegates Agree to Buy $2.1 Billion More U.S. Soybeans

DES MOINES (Oct. 14, 2016) – Six weeks ago, Chinese buyers committed to purchase nearly $1.8 billion worth of U.S. soy, totaling 146 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. Friday, Chinese buyers made an even larger commitment, signing contracts worth $2.1 billion of U.S. soy, or 5.1 million tons.

The new commitments were signed at a ceremony held in Des Moines and attended by seven of the top Chinese buyers of U.S. soy, Chinese commerce officials, top Iowa state officials and representatives from the U.S. soy industry. The signing ceremony was hosted by the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the Iowa Soybean Association. Governor Terry Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey were in attendance.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad talked about the trust, honor and respect that have helped foster the long relationship between Chinese president Xi Jinping and U.S. soybean farmers, sharing a photograph that shows the Chinese leader’s first visit to Iowa in 1985. “It’s pretty neat to have the president of China call you an ‘old friend,’” he stated.

This year, U.S. soybean farmers are projected to export a record amount of soy and soy products, up from 62.88 million metric tons of soy and soy products, valued at $27.7 billion, in 2015. International buyers are turning to U.S. soy for a variety of reasons, including its quality, sustainability and reliability, to name a few.

China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA) president Brian Zhenhu spoke about the trade collaboration between the U.S. and China. “This signing ceremony is just one manifestation of our cooperation,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by the U.S. soy industry. “We were honored to be joined by a group of Chinese provincial officials and crush company representatives, who traveled 7,000 miles to meet with U.S. exporters to sign 16 purchasing agreements,” said Jim Miller, USSEC chair, American Soy Association (ASA) director and Nebraska soybean farmer. “These agreements are an example fo the strong partnerships between the U.S. soy value chain and the international buyers who purchase our crop.”

The U.S. Soybean Export Council connects U.S. soybean farmers with opportunities to improve human nutrition, livestock production and aquaculture. This mission is accomplished with a science-based technical foundation and a global network of partnerships including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusiness and agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies.

For more information, contact Lisa Humphreys at (636) 449-6040 or LHumphreys@ussec.org

RICHARD W. BILLINGS (8/23/1946 – 10/17/2016)


Richard Wayne Billings, 70, of Gorin, died Monday, October 17, 2016 at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis.

He was born the son of Ross “Shorty” and Stella Margaret (Davis) Billings on August 23, 1946 on a hill in Scotland County.

Richard graduated from Wyaconda C-1 High School.   He joined the United States Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant, before being discharged in 1972.

He married the former Beverly Marie Hicks on May 28, 1988 in Kirksville.   She survives.

Richard worked as a machine operator at Metzler Automotive in Keokuk.  He was member of the United Steel Workers #444. Upon retirement, he devoted his time to farming.

He was a member of the American Legion and a former member of the Bible Grove Saddle Club.

Richard had a special interest in cattle, AC tractors, and his dog Ruby.   He was fond of his horses, cows, and dogs.   He always looked forward to reading the NEMO Trader when it came out.   Richard especially enjoyed spending time with his family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Tom Billings; and a stepson and stepdaughter-in-law, Chris and Cindy Van Hoozen.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of the home; his children, Lesia (Rick) Hunziker and Les (Erin) Billings of Kahoka and Kimberly (Kevin) Carr of Warsaw, IL; stepchildren, Jennifer (Troy) Esser and Shawna Stone and special friend, Bubba Hauk, of Memphis; grandchildren and step-grandchildren, Raelynn, Logan, Lauren, Vince, Garrett, Wyatt, Clint, Laura (Craig), and Trent (Amber); step grandchildren, Nichole (Jimmy), Caleb, John, Whitney, Emma, Grace, Phillip, Katie (Colton), Mason, Kenny, Jaycen, Heather (David), Carrissa (John), Nakiya, Kody and Kaleb; 22 step-great-grandchildren; numerous brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends.

Funeral services will be at noon on Thursday, October 20, at the Gerth Funeral Chapel in Memphis with Shawn McAfee, pastor of the Peaksville Christian Church, officiating.   Burial will follow in the Etna Cemetery.

Military rites will be performed by the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial V.F.W. Post #4958 of Memphis.

Visitation is prior to the service, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Thursday, at Gerth Funeral Home.

Memorials are suggested to the Scotland County Cancer Fund or the Clark County Local Cancer Fund and can be left at or mailed to the Gerth Funeral Service, 115 S. Main St., Memphis, MO 63555.

Online condolences may be sent to the Billings family by signing the online guest book at gerthfuneralservice.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Gerth Funeral Service.



Proud parents Zach and Jessica McBee of Memphis are happy to announce the birth of their daughter Payton Leigh McBee on October 1, 2016 at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Missouri. Payton weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. Grandparents are Jim and Rhonda McBee of Memphis, Valerie Bair and Patrick Hines of Memphis, and Doug Bair of Kansas City. Payton is the McBee’s first child.

Scotland County Health Department Schedule

Thursday, October 20 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations. A nurse will be available at the Scotland County Nutrition site to do blood pressure checks.

Friday, October 21 – Clinic hours from 8:00-3:30 for fasting blood sugars, cholesterols and blood draws, immunizations, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Tuesday, October 25 – Clinic hours from 8-9:00 a.m. for fasting blood sugars and cholesterols and blood draws and from 12-2:30 p.m. for immunizations, blood pressure checks, nail care, flu shots, etc.

Thursday, October 27 – Clinic hours from 8:00-9:00 a.m. for immunizations.

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