Search This Blog

Monday, July 16, 2012

What can we learn from Drought 2012

Yes I am tired of writing about the drought, but that is what is going on with agriculture in the Midwest right now.  We all know there are fields that are not going to produce any corn this year.  I can't speculate much about over all yields because it is just so variable.

My question is can we learn something from this drought.  I think so.  We should be using the stressed condition of the crop to pinpoint nutrient problems.  You should at least be driving past fields and trying to explain the variability that is showing up.  The biggest contributor to variability I see this year is high sodium.  High sodium is sort of unique to the Southern Illinois claypan region.  I also see eroded slopes being more stressed than ridgetops.  We expect this in a drought.  Be on the lookout for nutrient deficiencies both macronutrients and micronutrients.

Another question that has come to mind is, Should we consider crops other than corn and soybeans.  Wheat did very well in Illinois this year.  The down side of wheat is that it has lower yields.  There is data to indicate that it can improve the farm's bottom line by growing wheat and double crop soybeans in Southern Illinois.  The problem I see with that thought is that double crop soybeans are unlikely to be viable in dry weather.  Should we think about growing grain sorghum (milo)?  Milo can be drought tolerant and will produce something in most years, but we sacrifice yield to corn.  Is there something else out there.

This will also be a good year to determine drought tolerance of corn hybrids.  Some plots may be yielding zero, but if you drive past you might still be able to pick up differences.  I am kind of surprised that some seed corn dealers are not taking down signs considering how bad the fields look.  

No comments: