Although 2012 has been challenging, Brown says, no long-lasting downturn is expected.
“Perhaps the largest lasting effect will be reductions in the cattle industry,” he says. “A lot depends on weather.” Fall rains can grow grass that will offset need for winter hay.
Brown also cautions that the report’s overall averages can mask financial hardships faced by individual farms. Drought was spotty in many localities.
“On average, Missouri agriculture remains amazingly resilient.”
For a copy of the seven-page report, go to web.missouri.edu/~browndo.
The report comes from a new analytical center, the Integrated Policy Group in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. All are in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
Drought was a doozy
Exceptionally hot, dry weather with extreme lack of rain hit Missouri farmers hard in 2012, cutting net farm income.
The MU authors of the “Missouri Farm Income Outlook 2012” gave background on that drought, the driest in six decades, back to 1953.
When looking at May, June and July, important months in the growing season, the shortage of rain was compared to a 30-year average, 1981 to 2010. Of 111 counties with complete rain records, every county had at least 20 percent less rain than normal. Half of Missouri counties had 40 percent, or less, of normal rainfall.
Drought occurs somewhere in Missouri almost every year, but in 2012 the drought hit statewide.
The results are an estimated corn yield of 75 bushels per acre. That’s down 45 percent compared to the 2004-11 average. Only Kentucky has a worse state average. Soybean yields in 2012 are projected at 38 bushels per acre, down 29 percent from the previous eight-year average.
Those two crops made up 45 percent of total cash farm receipts in 2011 in the state.