Central Illinois saw 25.5 inches of precipitation in 2012, compared to 23.5 in 1988. (Photo courtesy of flickr)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - The drought of 2012 in the Midwest was the drought of 2011 for the Southeast and will most likely be the drought of 2013 for the high plains.
Executive Director of the Illinois Corn Growers Association Rodney Weinzierl said the drought is actually moving across the nation, much like a weather pattern, but from east to west.
"If you go back to the 1930's, the drought moved to different parts of the nation for actually around 10 to 12 years," Weinzierl said.
A dry pattern also moved across the nation, from east to west, starting in 1988 as well.
As the Midwest recovers in 2013, Weinzierl said the biggest concern is getting ready for planting. Subsoil moisture in northern Illinois is dry more than six inches below the surface. In Central Illinois, Weinzierl said more than two feet down, the soil is dry. The best amount of subsoil moisture is in southern Illinois.
"We need that subsoil moisture as a buffer as we go into spring and summer," Weinzierl said. "If we have two or three weeks of no rain, crops and trees will feel it because there's not that reserve moisture, it has not been replenished yet from the 2012 drought."
There's also concern over not being able to move plant food on the Mississippi River, because barge traffic is expected to come to a stop in January.
"If we cannot get those products positioned ahead of spring planting, we might be affected just because we don't have enough nutrients on the soil for the crop, which will affect us into late 2013 and even into 2014, as farmers are selling what could be a reduced crop," Weinzierl said.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com.