Dry Soil Expected for Next Crop Season

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COLUMBIA - Mizzou researchers said Monday that this year's drought could leave Missouri farmers in trouble next crop season.  Michael Collins, director of plant sciences at Mizzou, said although the top soil may be wet, according to their research, the sub soil under three feet deep is definitely dryer than last year.  

Collins said mid-Missouri has had lower than normal rain fall this year, so if Missouri does not get rainfall this winter, it could impact the 2012 growing season.  Researchers estimated farms in Missouri would need around 16 to 18 inches of rain to replenish the soil for a good crop season next year.  One inch of rain can equal about one foot of snow, so Missouri could need more than 15 feet of snow to fill the deficit.  Collins said any precipitation this winter will be good because it is less likely to evaporate than in the summer.  

Although overall U.S. farmer's harvest was up this year, Missouri's was down.  

Collins said farmers should considering planting soybeans instead of corn because they don't have to be planted until later in the season and don't soak up as much moisture.