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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

With respect to farmers in the wet Dakotas and Eastern Cornbelt.   What if Elwynn Taylor is right about the 89 year dustbowl type drought hitting in 2025? 

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/05-23-22-what-if-this-drought-is-just-starting/id1511033392?i=...   

$8 corn & $15 beans weren`t enough to buy enough acres, David Kruse is thinking we`ll have sub 1 billion bushel corn carryover and sub 200 million bushel bean carryover.  Some reasonably priced inputs were had for this 2022 crop, won`t be the case in 2023.  A corn crop put in late in less than ideal conditions and $1.10 N costs doesn`t provide incentive to sidedress and fungicide for homerun yields.

Here in NCIA it`s been too dry for the pre`s to work good and the beans could use 1" of rain to bail them out.  Good chance Tues night and Wednesday 

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27 Replies
k-289
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

Fill   the  cellar  with  beef  jerky  &  pre  cooked  bacon,   along  with  a  heaping  of  corn  meal  😧  =  =  =

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erikjohnson61y
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

I started farming in SE SD in 2001, and 2001 - 2004 were miserable. I got to thinking that it was normal around here for there to be no rain the month of August  - whatever you got in July had to carry you to September and the fall rains. I looked up the precip records from the 1930's, and we were actually getting  less rain in 01-04 than they were in the '30's. But we had better hybrids, and didn't moldboard plow every year no matter how dirty and dry.  We were getting corn in the upper 70's and beans in the high 20's even with that little rain. 

Bottom line - I still hold weatherguessers in the same high esteem as lawyers and used car salesmen.

Blacksandfarmer
Senior Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

I seen this post right after I checked the doppler. Looks like most of Kansas and even parts of Texas are getting rain this morning.  

For me personally, the weather has been good lately, but fertilizer is getting prohibitively expensive. Some farmers like me might have lower yielding crops because I chose to skimp on fertilizer.

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erikjohnson61y
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

My APH is 171, and I usually fertilize for 200bpa in case we have good weather (have hit it twice). But this year I am only fertilizing for 175, although I am going to use an N stabilizer for the first time, and am going to try a molasses product with my post sprays on half my acres. Might be foo foo dust, but not too expensive to try it. Seems to work well on southern fields by the trial data - we'll see if it works in South Dakota. Even at these fertilizer and fuel price levels, production is still equally profitable IF (!) we still have $5.50 or higher corn at harvest (or when I sell next year). But with drought risk and price risk, I too am cutting back on the attempts for the highest yields.  

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Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

Blacksand,

Or you could have a great crop and wonder why you’ve been buying so much fertilizer!

sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

Tree fmr,   Over the years I have faced this several times....... usually I reduce fertilizer because of drought.... like this spring in the sw.   Almost every time I have failed to see any difference in yield production because of my decisions on fertilizer.  We have plenty to do what we get water to get done.

In years when I left field tests at various levels..... in drought years.... the high fertility reduces yield.

We always have more carryover fertility than test show.

timetippingpt
Honored Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

Erik:  Just wondering what changes are involved in fertilizing for 175, versus fertilizing for 200? TIA     Maybe we can start an adult conversation on fertilization tactics. 

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Hobbyfarmer
Honored Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

Will the price of fertilizer encourage many to go back to fert on the planter?

Actually increase striptil fert application with precision guidance to place the added nutrients next to the row where the plant can find it all instead of just broadcasting it out there and only getting the use of some of it?

 

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erikjohnson61y
Esteemed Advisor

Re: Commstock: What if the drought is just starting?

IMO, soil organic matter is a bank of fertility that can be withdrawn over time. Interestingly, hot and dry conditions release more N, P, K from organic matter than during "normal" years (whatever that is).  3% OM could give you 75# of actual N under the right conditions, so if you can accurately predict a drought, you could save a LOT on fertilizer in the short term.

Of course, this released fertility is from prior applications of fertilizer that remained in the field in the stover. With the right soil types (sorry, you guys in the nebraska sands won't benefit from this) and with reduced tillage (especially fall tillage) and leaving roots and litter in place on the surface for worms, I've been able to increase my OM by a little over 1% per decade. Nearly all my fields are 3-4% OM now. Tiling has reduced my salt content much more quickly than I anticipated, and 2 years ago I started doing variable rate fertilizing based on yield maps and soil sampling. You don't need to spend a whole lot to get this info - I replaced the brown box in my JD9500 combine with a used 2600 display and added a used Starfire 3000 GPS receiver for about $8K. The free signal is only accurate to within about 20 feet, but that's good enough for yield maps and fertilizing. I bought the SMS software to make my own variable rate maps, but if you take your yield and soil test data to your agronomist over the winter when he's not super busy, they can probably make variable rate plans for you there.

I believe managing soil health and fertility this way makes us much more resilient to droughts than in years past. I agree with SW - in most years water is the limiting factor to yield. But we can do things to maximize what the crops can do with the moisture we do get.

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