Missouri Misery: Wettest Crop Season on Record?


Missourians sometimes jokingly refer to their home as “The State of Misery.” But it’s no laughing matter that an overabundance of rain this spring and summer has left Missouri farmers with one of the more frustrating crop seasons in recent memory – and possibly the wettest growing season in 121 years of recordkeeping.

“It could be the wettest on record, as current numbers are preliminary,” says Pat Guinan, University of Missouri Extension climatologist.

From May to July, the Show Me State averaged 22.41 inches of rainfall, which is 0.14 inches short of a record set in 1981. It will take time to tally results from the state’s 200 official reporting stations, Guinan says.

“The wet year is an anomaly,” he says. “It’s not just total rain, but the frequency.”

For example, during the May through July stretch, Kansas City reported 48 days with measurable rain – 16 days above normal. The wet weather has hindered Missouri farmers, delaying and preventing corn and soybean plantings, and keeping livestock producers from baling quality hay for winter feed.

“Haymaking was hit hard,” says Craig Roberts, MU Extension forage specialist. “Those with management-intensive grazing did well if they matched livestock demand to forage growth. A downside was waterlogged soils.”

Guinan says soggy conditions were widespread and statewide.

According to the state’s USDA progress report from August 2, 2015, crops are behind but not egregiously so. Corn is at 91% silking, compared to 94% for the five-year average. Soybeans are 46% blooming, versus 68% for the five-year average. And 52% of cotton is setting bolls, as opposed to a 68% five-year average.

Crop conditions support the narrative of traumatic weather. The following percent of crops were rated “very poor,” “poor” or “fair” in the Aug. 2 report.

  • Corn – 48%
  • Soybeans – 71%
  • Cotton – 64%
  • Rice – 39%
  • Sorghum – 59%
  • Pasture – 32%

The wet season hasn’t only affected Missouri farming, Guinan adds. Construction and transportation were constantly interrupted, and the state reported numerous lost bridges and washed-out culverts.

It’s unclear how El Niño conditions will further affect state weather later this year, he adds, as Missouri lies in a “transition zone” between the northern and southern U.S.

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Spell Check

Algonaa, IA
8/5/2015 09:36 PM

  Floating Farmer I'm From Iowa we had what you have this year 3 years in a row don't want to hear it your corn won't do 165 the last 3 years its been more like 140 to 155

Ledyard, IA
8/5/2015 07:24 AM

  Bill your from CO. so smoke your weed and you dont need to comment on Missouri

Floating Farmer
Bloomington, IL
8/5/2015 01:20 PM

  Why not comment on Mo.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I sure am glad that crops in Co. and Ia. are in great shape because states like OH, IN, MO and IL are not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For example Farm Service Agency Representatives have submitted 87 counties in Illinois and over 50 counties in Indiana alone as disaster counties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!To be eligible for disaster a county must suffer a crop loss minimum of 30%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Producers like myself in central Il. had 250Bu. Corn and 70 Bu. Soybeans in 2014 and this year I will be lucky to have 165 Bu. Corn and 48Bu. Soybeans due to excessive rains !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know how many counties in MO. applying for federal assistance but it truly is a disaster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the states with great crops I wish you well, but have compassion for fellow producers that are not as fortunate as you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Someday you may be seeking a little understanding and compassion from other producers when mother nature refuses to give you any !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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