Resources available to farmers during recent drought

Steve Chapman

On July 26, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared that about 65-percent of Missouri was experiencing various levels of drought. In several southwest Missouri counties, making up about 18-percent of the state, the drought was declared to be D3, or extreme drought. As of Aug. 4, those numbers were reduced to 60-percent of the state experiencing some form of drought and 14-percent of the state experiencing extreme drought. However, 21 Missouri counties, including Greene and Lawrence counties, are still seeing D3-level drought conditions.
The effects of extreme drought can mean several hardships for farmers. According to information found on the Drought Monitor’s website, extreme drought can result in crop loss, limits in hay and water for cattle, death of mature trees, dried up ponds and wells and fire hazards, among other effects. Locally, several corn crops reportedly failed, resulting in growers chopping them into silage, and cattle pastures were also negatively impacted.
Jay Chism, director of the MU Southwest Research Center, said there were some steps farmers could take to produce forage for their animals until the drought ends.
“While it is always a gamble, annual forages are still an option for farmers that may want to grow additional forage,” he said. “Success is dependent on when and if rains start developing again. Of course, feeding hay harvested this spring may help carry farmers through dry conditions. Think about small grains like wheat and rye planted in September. Apply 50 to 75 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer at planting, (and) don’t graze to less than three inches. Additional fertilizer can also be applied in the spring.”
Chism also said farmers could get assistance from the federal government.
“Federal drought assistance should start being available soon,” he said. “Contact your USDA office for the latest drought relief options.”

Upcoming drought meetings
Farmers can also get more information at drought recovery meetings being held in Greene and Lawrence County on Friday, Aug. 12, Chism said. At the meetings, speakers will cover topics such as hay quality, alternative feeds, fall forage alternatives and more. The meeting in Greene County will take place at the Sac River Cowboy Church at 2328 N. Farm Road 101 in Springfield, from 8:30-10:45 a.m. In Lawrence County, the meeting will take place at the MU Southwest Research Center at 14548 Highway H, from 2 p.m. until 5:15 p.m. For more information or to register for the meetings, call 417-357-6812. Registration can also be done online, for the Springfield meeting at, and for the Mt. Vernon meeting at The drought monitor map can be viewed online at


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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