Life in the red

A seed advisor with Beck’s Hybrids says many crop farmers in central Missouri are turning to pivot irrigation earlier than usual due to the drought conditions.

Clarissa Cauthorn tells Brownfield it’s more common to plant corn at the beginning of June than irrigate and the rainfall has been spotty. 

“For many of us that means we’re getting an inch of rain here and two-tenths of an inch a mile down the road,” she says. “There are places south of Columbia that haven’t seen a good amount of rainfall in what feels like a year. Farmers are making plans for the 10-day forecast with the hope a rain shows up in it. There’s a chance of rain, but it’s not great.”

She says farmers could see what looks like fertilizer deficiencies in fields where there may not be a deficiency, it’s just a lack of water solubility.

“Farmers may very well see some odd things in the field that haven’t been seen before and things you’ve fertilized for that you think shouldn’t be showing up, but with drought conditions they’re still showing. That’s especially true in compacted areas.”

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows an expansion of extreme and severe drought. Extreme drought is affecting more than 6% of the state and 23% of the state is in severe drought.

Photo credit: Clarissa Cauthorn

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