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Malheur County farmers manage through hot spell

Farmers payed close attention to crop moisture levels during heat wave. (Pat Caldwell/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO – Farmers in the area said that the favorable early growing season has allowed them to stave off losses for most of their crops from recent heat waves.

Stuart Reitz with the Oregon State University Malheur County Extension Service said all crops have a temperature threshold beyond which they shut down normal growing processes.

Temperatures greater than 100 degrees cause corn to stop growing, according to a 2015 study by the National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment. Reitz said onions have a much lower threshold of 90 degrees.

“Once they go beyond that threshold, these plants actually need less water because they essentially go to sleep,” Reitz said.

He said it’s crucial for farmers to be paying close attention to . . .