(Atlantic) Forecasters say the current dry conditions are similar to that of the 1988 drought which slashed yields by 24-percent for that era of the ‘80’s.
Aaron Saeugling, Iowa State University Extension Agronomist for southwest Iowa says he isn’t advising that producers make any drastic management changes, but if they choose to, there are a number of techniques that could help reduce drought stress.
“I don’t know that I would suggest producers’ make a lot of management changes just yet, because we have a lot time between today and planting season,” stated Aaron Saeugling, Iowa State Extension agronomist for southwest Iowa. “Some things we do know are that we tend to have very good no-till practices in southwest Iowa that produces better yields in dry conditions, than in wet conditions, and I think most growers realize that.” Saeugling says the bad news is that producers tilled a lot of soil. “So if we don’t get any rain that may work against us.”
Saeugling says another big factor is going to be temperature. “How hot will it actually get, and obviously when it is dry we are exposed to a lot more heat.” Sauegling says anything producers can do to save moisture this spring will help reduce drought stress.
“One strategy would be to limit the amount of spring tillage trips to conserve soil and residue,” suggests Saeugling. “Hybrids are better adapted to dry conditions today rather than in the 80’s. They are not drought tolerant, but they are better adapted to dry weather.”
With that said Saeugling isn’t suggesting farmers do all those things, but who knows what the weather will bring.
“I don’t want to tell people they have to plant populations at 20,000, not do any type of tillage work, and cut your nitrogen way back, because producers don’t know what the rest of the summer is going to allow. Last summer we experienced some really hot temperatures, and producers were happy with their yields, especially in Cass County.”
January 30, 2012