Dealing with the 2012 Drought

Just how challenged have farmers been this year? Kosciusko County farmer Kip Tom has been at it for 39 years and he says 2012 is the most challenging regarding dryness and heat. Of course the trouble all started in the first quarter of the year.

“We came off of February and March, some of the driest and warmest February and March we’ve ever had, and started out planting corn in early April. By the 24th or 25th of July on a lot of our acres we were nearly 14 inches behind on our normal rainfall. Couple that with the high amount of 90 degrees plus temperature days we had through June and July and even in the last few days of May. So a challenging year.”

And the challenge will move right into harvest in the form of very poor yields. Tom says some of his 200 bushel per acre fields will be in the 20 to 30 bushel range this year.

He knows farmers have responded to the drought in different ways. One of those is fungicide application. Many farmers decided not throw good dollars after bad, in their words, and stalled those applications. Tom’s research told him differently.

“We looked at the results of prior years and other areas that were having yield challenges and we moved forward and applied fungicides to our corn acres and our soybean acres because we’ve seen results that it did add yield even under a stress year.”

Like many farmers he looks to 2013 with enthusiasm and encourages the same of his fellow farmers.

“I think the reality is let’s get past this year and let’s focus on next year. Let’s make sure we put the right amount of nutrients out there to maximize yields next year, and let’s not sit here and cry oh woe is me. Let’s put our chin up in the air, pick out the right crops to grow next year and let’s try to maximize those returns.”

Tom recently returned from a South American trip and says farmers there are doing all they can to maximize their yields knowing there is opportunity with the short U.S. corn and soybean crops and already the best returns they’ve ever seen.[audio:|titles=Kip Tom on 2012 drought]

Source: Cindy Zimmerman at

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