Farm Talk

Crops

January 8, 2013

MU cropping strategies for drought

Parsons, Kansas — Producers can take steps to reduce the impact of drought, should we face another shortage of rainfall in 2013, says a University of Missouri plant scientist.

Strategies to mitigate drought include diversifying crops and varieties, said Rob Myers, adjunct associate professor at the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

"Something to look at is adding other cool-season crops to the rotation, like winter wheat or canola, to help our overall cropping system better withstand drought as we move forward," Myers said. "Among the summer annual crops, sunflowers and milo are drought-tolerant options. Sunflowers can be planted early like corn or double-cropped after wheat."

Some new corn and soybean hybrids are advertised as drought resistant, but Myers says that drought-resistant varieties may not be the best choice.

"I think in some cases those are worth looking at," Myers said. "In other cases, maybe they've been developed for other regions of the country, so farmers need to understand when looking at those varieties how and where they were developed."

Myers suggests looking for varieties that are high-yielding over multiple environments for multiple years. Yield stability is needed to get through a drought year. Myers says farmers should also look at different maturities.

"A lot of our droughts tend to build up as the summer goes on," he said. "Varieties of corn and soybeans that mature a little early, combined with early planting dates, can get the critical flowering and seed-set period into a time when the soil might not be quite as dry as it might be later in the summer."

While early planting dates are generally better, Myers says a mix of planting dates and maturities can be beneficial.

"We may have a year like last year, where the hurricane came through and provided some rain at the end of August," Myers said. "What we saw was the beans that were later maturities did a little better because they were still filling seed when we got that late rain. So there is an advantage to diversifying varieties and planting dates to reduce risk."

Cover crops can also be helpful in mitigating drought conditions. Not only do they provide a cover in the fall through the spring, they also provide some residue that better blankets the soil going into the cropping season, he said.

Crops will fare better during drought if they don't have to deal with other sources of plant stress at the same time.

"Just like us as human beings, if we're stressed and tired we are more likely to pick up a cold or get sick," Myers said. "We'll have fewer problems down the road by having varieties with good insect and disease resistance, so that they're not being stressed by those pests while they are also suffering from moisture conditions."

Other strategies to help mitigate drought include building soil organic matter and overall soil health, and preserving soil cover to maintain moisture.

For more information, contact your local MU Extension center or go to www.extension.missouri.edu/drought. £

1
Text Only
Crops
  • Scientists complete chromosome based draft of wheat genome

    Several Kansas State University researchers were essential in helping scientists assemble a draft of a genetic blueprint of bread wheat, also known as common wheat. The food plant is grown on more than 531 million acres around the world and produces nearly 700 million tons of food each year.
    The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, which also includes faculty at Kansas State University, recently published a chromosome-based draft sequence of wheat's genetic code, which is called a genome. "A chromosome-based draft sequence of the hexaploid bread wheat genome" is one of four papers about the wheat genome that appear in the journal Science.

    July 22, 2014

  • Drought & poor wheat harvest in Kan. has effects on nat’l economy

    The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

    July 15, 2014

  • Watch for corn leaf diseases

    In general, corn in southeast Kansas looks about as healthy as any reasonable producer might hope.

    July 1, 2014

  • Consider wind when applying herbicides

    Jill Scheidt, agronomy specialist with University of Missouri Extension in Barton County, scouted fields west of Lockwood on June 18 for the crop scouting program.

    June 24, 2014

  • WheatTour-007.jpg SW Mo. wheat tour yields nutrient tips

    Laying down nitrogen on the wheat fields is quite possibly one of the most complex and critical operations facing producers.

    June 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Corn planting nears completion, early condition good

    With corn planting nearly complete and emergence keeping pace with the five-year average, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its first forecast for the condition of the 2014 U.S. corn crop.

    June 10, 2014

  • Harvesting short wheat

    In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge.

    June 3, 2014

  • Controlling large weeds in Roundup Ready soybeans

    Controlling large weeds is often considerably more difficult than controlling smal-ler weeds. The following are some suggestions for controlling larger troublesome weeds in soybeans.

    May 28, 2014

  • aflatoxin-corn.jpg Aflatoxin risk looms large for corn growers

    To diversify their farms and tap into high demand for one of agriculture’s most profitable crops, dryland farmers more familiar with growing wheat and milo are eager to try their hand at corn.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kan. wheat crop smallest since 1996

    WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas is expected to produce its smallest winter wheat crop since 1996, an indication of a deepening drought across the nation's wheat belt, the government said in its first official forecast of the growing season.

    May 13, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content