Experts Not Afraid Of Another Drought - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Experts Not Afraid Of Another Drought

All this week, Michigan State University will host various activities on campus as part of their 98th Annual Agriculture and Natural Resources week.

Nick Perreault talked with an MSU professor on how current weather conditions could affect our crops this season.

The machines may sit idle now, but as corn and soybean season approaches, our dry summer last year planted seeds of doubt among farmers.

 "As far as what the USDA classification is, we're still being classified as abnormally dry," said Plant and Soil Science Professor Kurt Thelen.

So dry that MSU Professor Kurt Thelen says farmers struggled to salvage an average season.

"In July we were wondering if we were going to get a crop at all, we had some saving rains in early August," Thelen said.

A change in weather that Jim Zook says helped corn make a comeback as well.

"We were down about 6 percent from total production the previous year," said MI Corn Growers Association Executive Director Jim Zook.

And with the uncertainty that Michigan could produce yet another dry season, Thelen says those in the field could use these tips to help;

*Get in the fields early around first week in May

* Limit the amount of times you plow the fields

* Watch your water use

"About 80 percent of the time, water is going to be the yield limiting factor, whether it's too much water at the wrong time or too little water," Thelen said.

Professor Thelen adds farmers should remain optimistic, all this snow could actually help crops have a healthy start to the season.

"If you get some real quick thaws, most of that runs off, but this spring we've actually had the frost leave the soil," Thelen said.

And Thelen says add in some rain and it could produce ideal planting conditions and a bright future for those that depend on it.

Professor Thelen says history isn't always a good indication of what will happen, but the last major drought came almost 25 years ago in 1988.

The next following year crop yields were above average.

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