Severe Drought Affects West Central Missouri
By Stephanie Frey
Unknown to those who are not involved in the farming community, large parts of
the US, including Missouri, have been suffering from a severe drought since last year.
According to Tony Lupo, associate director of atmospheric science at MU, the drought
has been affecting Missouri for over 12 months and although the state has gotten rain
recently, it is still not over.
“Summer 2006 has been the warmest since 1980, but has failed to get into the top
ten hottest summers. We were very dry in the spring of this year and came into the
summer way behind and low on ground water,” said Lupo. The drought was predictable
by looking at the year’s weather patterns added Lupo.
Pat Guinan, a climatologist at MU, has spent time researching the severity and
affects of the drought. “It didn’t take long for the crops to feel stress from the drought due
to the low amount of moisture in the soil. They didn’t have much water to tap into,” said
Guinan. The corn in West Central Missouri turned white while the soybean plants were
either stunted or had stopped growing completely said Guinan.
Not only has the Show Me State struggled with its crops, but the livestock have
been suffering as well. “Pastures burned up and farmers were forced to feed them hay
supplies that would have normally been saved until around November,” said Guinan.
“Many of the ponds that livestock would normally drink from had dried up and are in
great need of rain.”
The effects were vast, but good news did come when the Secretary of Agriculture
Mike Johanns announced on Aug. 29 that $780 million would be given to farmers and
ranchers that were affected by the severe drought, according to the United States
Department of Agriculture. Fifty million dollars will be going to livestock farmers like
those who have had to tap into their hay preserves to keep their cattle healthy.
For more information concerning areas affected by the drought refer to:
http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html or http://drought.unl.edu/dm
To read about the USDA press release refer to: