ROCK PORT, Mo. – Now that the "flash drought" has turned into one of the most persistent dry spells in decades, there's no doubt that most farmers across northwest Missouri will have lower yields than they expected while putting seeds in the ground this spring.
To help producers make tough decisions about the diminished fall harvest, researchers and University of Missouri Extension faculty will focus on the drought during Field Day activities Tuesday, Aug. 28, at the Graves-Chapple Research Center near Corning.
"Several of our topics are drought related and deal with how to prepare for next year, from herbicide and fertilizer carryover, to nutrient issues and where markets are headed," said Jim Crawford, center superintendent and an Extension natural resources engineer.
The lack of rains means that on some acreages there may be fertilizer remaining in the soil, which could allow producers to save money on input next year.
Peter Scharf, a plant sciences professor at MU, will give a Field Day presentation on various ways to estimate remaining fertilizer, including soil sampling.
"There’s potential to save on nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium next season," said Scharf, who will also discuss how to apply fertilizer at a reduced rate without risking yield loss.
Wayne Flanary, an agronomy specialist for the northwest Missouri region, will discuss pot ash deficiencies — a common problem in this area. He’ll share share soil sampling and application rates designed to help farmers get the most out of every bushel.
While 2012 was a challenging year for crops, it was a bumper season for weeds, and plant sciences professor Kevin Bradley will be at the Field Day to talk about why various weed control methods were less than successful.
"A lot of failures were due to drought, and some were due to resistance," Bradley said. "Another important reason is that we’re spraying weeds when they’re way too big. We can’t rely just on PPO herbicides or one mode of action."
Bradley will also address the weed control outlook for the next few years and discuss new products coming to market.
Many producers have questions about what’s going to happen to markets over the next several months, and ag economist Ray Massey will be on hand during the Field Day to share his outlook on fertilizer and seed availability and how early cattle sales are apt to affect corn and soybean markets.
Field Day tours will take place from 8:30 a.m. to just after noon. A complimentary lunch will follow the program.