Corn Product Selection Following Drought

August 14, 2023

Drought has been a hot topic for most of 2023 in the United States as many areas have been very dry (Figure 1). A drought can be summarized as when a prolonged period of drier than normal conditions begin to effect agriculture.

Corn drought stress
Figure 1. Drought stressed corn plants.

When making decisions following a drought, it is important not to react to emotions. Decisions made following a drought can be skewed based on current conditions rather than looking at the history of the product. Tips for selecting products following drought include:

  • Use current results for product selections on ground that is prone to stress. Most growers have a farm or two that are tougher than others. Products that fair well under drought conditions are often good choices for these tougher farms because drought may mimic a normal growing season for these fields.
  • Review history – Multiple years of experience with a given product can provide performance confidence for the following growing season.
  • New products are often left out of the cropping plan due to recent bias. Work with your Seedsman and Agronomist to make decisions regarding new products. They have access to performance information and may have observed the product under drought stress. These products might have excellent potential under a more normal growing season, but don’t rule them out.
  • Just because a product performs okay during drought, don’t assume it will have similar results in a normal year. As mentioned above some products just handle tough conditions better than others and in a drought year those products can rise to the top but fall to the middle of the pack in a normal growing season.

Drought can be very emotional as it affects us in different ways. However, if you take a few seconds to think about what is going on it can be useful in making decisions for the future.

Jeff Lakin
CHANNEL Agronomist