Extreme Weather Patterns Hamper Missouri Farmers
COLUMBIA - A report released Wednesday from MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources predicts a less than average rainfall for next year's growing season.
Experts said the blame belongs to the extreme weather patterns of El Niño and La Niña. El Niño, a warm weather pattern over the South pacific, tends to zap the Midwest of steady precipitation, resulting in a dry period. Whereas La Niña, a cool pattern over the same area, typically causes a wet period, as seen with the cyclical weather patterns that generated Hurricane Isaac.
Superintendent of MU's Bradford Research Center, Tim Reinbott, said reduced precipitation will affect the creation of healthy, moist subsoil for the next crop season.
"If we don't get above average snowfall, if we don't get a good average 30 inches of snow, and get some very nice rains in spring, we're looking at very short, again, even with normal precipitation of summer, we would not be able to get these short dry periods that we often have each year," Reinbott said.
Escaping the peril of poor precipitation comes to those farmers who are able to irrigate. According to Reinbott, that's not viable for most farmers.
"If irrigiation is available, that's the problem. Most Missouri farmers do not have irrigation. And the ones that do, use it very quickly," Reinbott said. "And right now, most water, most irrigation in central North Missouri comes from reservoirs on farm ponds and lakes. They are pumped to the point where you can't pump anymore out."
The central U.S. rainfall average was around 30 inches this year. The past 30 years of rainfall have averaged about 40 inches.
To track average rainfall and crop cycle productions, visit the National Agricultural Statistics Service website for Missouri district statistics.