The recent break from Missouri's oppressive summer heat has done little to help crops and pastures.
In its weekly update, the Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that supplies of topsoil and subsoil moisture were just 1 percent adequate — with the 1 percent due to irrigation in southeastern Missouri.
Ninety-eight percent of pastures throughout Missouri were ranked in poor to very condition, and livestock producers are still coping with massive shortages of stock water.
Dairy cows feed at Heins Family Farm near Higginsville, Mo. Fans and misters keep the barns cool during this summer's record temperatures.
Credit Courtesy of the University of Missouri
The new smartphone app Thermal Aid can help farmers detect the threat of heat stress in cows.
Credit Scott Pham for NPR
Herd manager Chris Heins greets a calf at his dairy farm near Higginsville, Mo. It will be about two years before a calf like this one is ready to be milked, so keeping them comfortable and healthy is a top concern.
When it's hot and humid, you probably don't want to move much and aren't very hungry. The same goes for cows; but when they don't eat, farmers lose money.
Researchers at the University of Missouri think they can help avoid those losses. They've produced a new mobile app that can detect the threat of heat stress in cows using nothing more than a smartphone.
It's August now and the Farm Bill will expire September 30th. Without a stable, federal policy on US agriculture, farmers are going to have a difficult time planning for the future. Our colleagues at Harvest Public Media are bringing us daily updates on the political wrangling that may or may not bring us the new legislation farmers need. We'll bring you these daily updates as we get them.
Facing the prospect of heading back to angry drought-ravaged farmers and ranchers during Congress’ August Recess, House Republicans stopped work on contentious farm bill legislation and started pushing a drought assistance bill.
According to the USDA's crops progress report, which was released on Monday, in Missouri, 83 percent of the corn acreage and 72 percent of soybeans are in very poor or poor condition. Both figures are the worst for any major agricultural state. Optimism for a good corn yield is dwindling, but Southeast Missouri State University’s Michael Aide says there is still hope for soybeans.
As cattle were auctioned off at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, Governor Nixon met over coffee Monday at the stockyard’s café with local ranchers and farmers. He listened to their stories about how the emergency water cost-share program has helped them and gave them an update on the program.