A minority of corn and soybean growers—one in four—say they altered their operations directly because of long-term changes in weather patterns, said a Purdue University poll on Tuesday. The most common changes were use of no-till planting, a shift in the mix of crops, and increased use of drought-resistant varieties, according to the Ag Economy Barometer.
“Dry weather this past spring and summer stimulated discussions among producers about shifts in long-term weather patterns,” wrote James Mintert and Michael Langemeier, who oversee the Barometer, so they asked corn and soybean growers if they explicitly changed farming practices in response to those shifts. “Nearly one out of four corn/soybean farmers (24 percent) in the October survey indicated they implemented changes in their farm operations to better deal with shifting weather patterns.”
Among growers who said they changed their practices, 25 percent said they adopted or increased their usage of no-till, 23 percent said they changed their mixture of crop plantings, and 20 percent said they planted more drought-resistant varieties.
The Barometer, a monthly gauge of farmer confidence, rose slightly to a reading of 110 but was below the six-month rolling average of 116. “Farmers in this month’s survey were a bit less concerned about the risk of lower prices for crops and livestock and felt somewhat better about their farms’ financial situation than a month earlier,” wrote Mintert and Langemeier.
Purdue interviews operators with production worth at least $500,000 a year for the Barometer. USDA data say the top 7.4 percent of U.S. farms top $500,000 in annual sales. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
The Ag Economy Barometer is available here.