Record drought causes concern for next year's cropsby Mark Steil, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The driest fall on record in parts of Minnesota already has farmers concerned about next year's crops.
Moderate to severe drought conditions extend across much of southern Minnesota, and in the northern part of the state as well.
If it stays dry into spring planting, some farmers may figure there's not enough moisture to grow their normal crop, said Dave Nicolai, University of Minnesota extension crops educator.
"They may adjust populations of corn, for example," Nicolai said. "To a lower level, or a slightly lower level, than they have in the past. Say for example, from 35,000 plants to the acre maybe down as low as 30 to 32,000 plants per acre."
The most common complaint about the drought Nicolai said he's heard so far is that it's made topsoil rock hard. It's damaged plows and caused some growers to give up on fall tillage, he said.