Sam Bibby on farmers dealing with drought in the 2023 season

UW-Madison Extension regional crops educator Sam Bibby describes impacts of drought over the first half of the 2023 growing season and what continuing dry conditions would mean for Wisconsin farmers.

By Marisa Wojcik | Here & Now

July 11, 2023

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Marisa Wojcik:
What have farmers been telling you about working with the drought?

Sam Bibby:
Well, it makes everybody nervous, that's for sure. But, you know, there's a few things we can do, but there's not a lot we can do. It's not like weeds or insects or fungus where we have, you know, three different management options and a host of chemicals we can use or fertilizers or something like that. It's really something we have to kind of just get through one way or another. But certainly those farmers that are experiencing the worst conditions are probably doing what they can. There's gonna be some maybe replanting or early forage harvests that are pretty low. But, yeah, not too much in the way of management this time of year.

Marisa Wojcik:
Is there still kind of potential for things to go south if we continue not getting rain? Or will they still kind of hold on?

Sam Bibby:
If we continue not getting rain, I guess I would get more worried. You know, I kind of like to say, there's never a good time to have a drought, but if you have to have a drought, it's good to have it in the early half of the season. Once we get into pollination with corn, and soybean flowering, and eventual seed set, then, you know, we're looking at, drought can really cause a lot of issues. You know, pollination gets kind of screwed up where the pollen will come off the corn plant at a different time than that year itself is ready to receive that pollen. And so we can just kind of miss that window and end up with a whole bunch of aborted seeds on the corn cob and no opportunity to recoup that loss really. So, yeah, I guess we'll hope for more rain in the later part of the season for sure.

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