Drought Tightens Grip On Area, Crops

Posted On July 12, 2012

source: U.S. Drought Monitor

(Aurora, Ind.) – The entire tri-state is now in a drought, leaving corn and soy bean crops in the area parched.


The U.S. Drought Monitor updated its information Thursday. Most of the tri-state remained categorized as abnormally dry last week. With no new significant rain, the entire region has plummeted into a moderate drought. 


Eighty-three percent of Indiana is in at least a moderate drought, up from 74 percent a week ago. Thirty-three percent sits in a severe drought. Southwestern, central, and northern portions of the state are in extreme drought.


The bone dry conditions are harming crops at levels not seen since 1988, one of the worst drought years in Indiana history. Dearborn County Purdue Extension Educator Mike Hornbach says local farmers are bothered by the weather and the threat of lower yields.


“It doesn’t matter what stage your crop is at, it’s going to adversely impact the yields. State acre averages which were projected at 166 bushels are already down to an estimate of 133 bushels on corn,” Hornbach said.


Hornbach says many fields are in the critical pollination stage, which is being hindered by the lack of rain and abundance of scorching hot temperatures.


“You only have about seven to ten days to pollinate. You could possibly see a ten percent loss per day if you’re not seeing any pollination going on,” he added.


Despite a very wet spring, there is nearly no moisture left in the top soils in which corn and soybeans grow their roots. At this point, any rain will help.


“But we’re not going to rebound to anything looking like initial projections on bushel averages. They are going to continue to go down,” Hornbach said.


About 80 percent of crops in Indiana have some type of insurance, which may soften the blow. So could rising prices for corn on commodity markets. Corn was trading at $7.50 Wednesday, nearing the all-time high of $8. That will mean higher costs paid by consumers at the grocery store.


Rain is likely for the tri-state in the next few days. The National Weather Service anticipates scattered showers overnight into Friday when the likelihood of rain increases to 70 percent. Saturday brings a 50 percent chance of showers and storms, followed by 40 percent on Sunday.




Drought Could Shrivel Farmers’ Earnings


U.S. Drought Monitor – http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/