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CC straw poll: Drought or not in 2013?
Will the drought continue this year? That's the $64,000 question at this year's Commodity Classic happening this week in Kissimmee, Florida. There's a general tone of caution with a bit of optimism sprinkled in for most farmers attending this year's event, which organizers say had its largest ever attendance this year, with 6,180 farmers in attendance.
Not all farmers are worried about the drought. Darryl Gibson farms near Ripley, Ontario, and he says despite the drier-than-normal conditions last year, his corn, soybean and wheat acres got a boost from timely rains, leading to decent yields. He's hopeful 2013 will be a repeat.
It wasn't quite as productive on Wayne Jeardoe's farm near Concordia, Kansas. He raises irrigated corn and soybeans as well as dryland sorghum and wheat. The few dryland corn acres he had last year were "no good," but he is optimistic that a combination of recent snowfall and his continued use of no-till will keep the drought from inflicting too much damage this year if it does continue.
It's practically a different world in central Ohio, where Bret Davis (here with wife Janie) farms near Delaware, Ohio. That part of the Corn Belt has recovered from drought thanks to a wet fall and winter so far. He raised 130-bushel corn and 53-bushel soybeans last year, but that was after a dry start unlike this year. "I'm going to make sure the ground is fit before I do any fieldwork," he says.
It's been wet the last couple of years around Bryant, South Dakota, where Douglas Noem (here with wife Kathy) farms. That yielded "the best year ever" last year, he says. This year, considering the proven value of crop insurance in other parts of the country, he's looking at his insurance options in case dryness creeps in. "We're nervously excited," he says. "We're concerned about soil moisture."
It's still very dry on Jim and Julie Reed's Monticello, Illinois, farm. Though Jim thinks the drought will end this year, he's still looking at planting drought-tolerant corn and continuing minimal tillage in case the dryness does continue. "We're looking at the drought as a 2-year abberation," he says. "If so, maybe it's over."
Farmers weigh in on how they're approaching the 2013 crop with the lingering prospect of continued drought.