Indiana’s Drought Could Be The Worst In 30 Years

Purdue experts say they do not know how long Indiana's drought will last.

drought river

Photo: Jim Grey (Flickr)

Droughts are not uncommon in Indiana as seen in this photo from 2008, but agriculture economists say this year could be the worst drought in 30 years.

The hot weather and lack of significant rainfall is putting the state’s corn crop in jeopardy. Purdue agricultural experts say if conditions do not improve, Indiana could be looking at one of its worst droughts in 30 years.

Corn production is already down 20 percent. Soybeans have declined 15 percent. Purdue agronomy professor Bob Nielsen says as of July first, only 19 percent of Indiana’s corn crops were rated good to excellent.

A large majority of Hoosier corn is nearing a key stage of development and if there isn’t relief soon, Nielsen says the corn will be at risk.

“I’m fairly certain there will be some disastrous, truly disastrous situations for individual growers,” he says.

Nielsen says while any rain will help, four to six inches over several weeks is really what’s needed.

Austin Pearson works at the Indiana state climate office at Purdue. He says both short and long term outlooks show below average precipitation for the rest of the summer.

“There is always that possibility of getting a tropical storm to come up through Texas and sweep up through the Midwest, so we’re really hoping for that, but as of right now the tropical activity isn’t too impressive right now,” Pearson says.

Nielsen says because soybeans have a different development process than corn, soybeans can hold out longer for rain, but if the drought lasts through August, Indiana’s soybean crops are at risk too.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Guest

    “There is always that possibility of getting a tropical storm to come up
    through Texas and sweep up through the Midwest, so we’re really hoping
    for that…”

    Wow, the good folk in the heartland are rooting for a hurricane to potentially devastate the Gulf coast just so they can have a little rain. It does not get more self centered and selfish than that. Austin Pearson should be ashamed of his corn-centric world view.

  • Blah

     It’s amazing how easy it is for people to turn some random page on the Internet about droughts into some form of psychoanalytical analysis of someone they’ve never even SEEN!

    This guy is just posting about a damn weather condition. It’s not like he’s rooting for someone’s plight in the midst of supernatural calamity for Christ’s sake…

  • Bairkus

    Wow! Just because you think something doesn’t make it true. 
    Talk about self-centered!

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