The Weird Weather of Summer 2012

Drought impacts corn, beans, wheat and sugar beets across the state.

Published on: Aug 6, 2012
Check out the article "Estimating Yield Losses in Drought-Damaged Corn Fields" (C.O.R.N Newsletter (July 31 - August 6, 2012) at for further details.

"Estimates are just that—estimates," she says. "However, they can be useful for planning purposes and to help give you a better idea of what to expect at harvest time."

Also, U-M's Extension Drought website has many valuable resources to help you deal with drought-related issues: (click on "Farm" for farm-related resources).

CRP acres open for grazing, haying
Additional Conservation Reserve Program acres have been authorized for emergency haying and grazing in Minnesota due to prevailing drought conditions.

The expanded authorization includes the following practices:
CP8A, Grass Waterway—Noneasement
CP23 and CP23A, Wetland Restorations
CP25, Rare and Declining Habitat
CP27 and CP28, Farmable Wetlands Pilot (FWP) Wetland and Buffer
CP37, Duck Nesting Habitat
CP41, FWP Flooded Prairie Wetlands.

Emergency haying and grazing of CRP is now open in 71 of the 87 Minnesota counties where the severity of the drought has at least reached the "D0" level, Abnormally Dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor as of July 19, 2012, or later.

To initiate emergency haying and grazing of CRP, producers must first contact their local FSA office to apply. Producers must sign a modified conservation plan to allow haying and grazing.  No more than 50% of a CRP field may be hayed, and haying must be completed by August 31, 2012. No more than 75% of a field may be grazed, and the grazing must end by September 30, 2012.  Haying or grazing cannot occur within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent water body, or on acres devoted to trees.

For more information, contact the Minnesota FSA State Office at 651-602-7702.

BWSR okays RIM acres for grazing, haying, too
The Board of Water and Soil Resources also authorized emergency haying and grazing of Reinvest in Minnesota acres for 70 counties affected by drought conditions.

Many RIM easements are enrolled jointly with a federal program, such as the Conservation Reserve Program or Wetland Reserve Program.

For these joint easements, BWSR will defer to federal guidelines, requiring landowners to comply with federal provisions.

For state RIM easements only, BWSR established the following policy:
•Landowners who are interested in emergency haying and grazing must contact their local soil and water conservation district office to file a plan amendment before haying or gazing RIM acres.
•At least 50% of each easement area will remain undisturbed for wildlife.
•Tree plantings, food plots, water control structures, wetland basins and stream banks shall be excluded.
•Where practical, mowing will begin in the center of the area to be harvested and commence inside out to allow wildlife escape routes.
•Haying/grazing will be limited to August 2 – September 30, 2012 to protect ground nesting wildlife.
•Haying/grazing grasses should be harvested no shorter than 6" in height to ensure regrowth.

Compiled by Paula Mohr