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 some new drought-resistant varieties may not be Missouri-specific.
"I think in many cases those new varieties 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."
Yield stability is needed to get through a drought year. Myers suggests looking for varieties that are high-yielding for multiple environments over multiple years. Myers says farmers should also look at different maturities.