drought 2013

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

The driest August across northern Missouri since 1984 has the United States Department of Agriculture revising crop yield projections downward for the upcoming harvest.  In addition, a continued drought plagues the northern part of the state, with 20 counties affected by what the National Weather Service calls a “severe drought”.

“Drought has and always will be a part of the Missouri landscape,” said University of Missouri Climatologist Pat Guinan.  However, he characterizes the last few weeks as a flash drought, and a “drought on steroids.”

Drought conditions are again plaguing the northern half of Missouri, according to the latest U.S. drought monitor report.

drought farm field soybeans
Camille Phillips / Harvest Public Media

Drought remains a threat to Missouri, despite the wet spring and improved rainfall this summer.  

Right now, a large portion of northwest Missouri is experiencing moderate drought conditions, while the rest of the state is classified as either “abnormally dry” or normal.

“We are looking at abnormally wet conditions along the Mississippi River and points to the east, where things get progressively wetter across parts of south-central Illinois," said Mark Fuchs, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service office in St. Louis.

Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

A University of Missouri plant scientist has launched a website that allows crop producers to track rainfall and the risk of nitrogen loss during the spring seasons. 

Say the words "crop insurance" and most people start to yawn. For years, few nonfarmers knew much about these government-subsidized insurance policies, and even fewer found any fault with them. After all, who could criticize a safety net for farmers that saves them from getting wiped out by floods or drought?