Taking an environmentally sensitive approach to pest management


Missouri Produce Growers


James Quinn
University of Missouri
(573) 634-2824

The Drought of 2012 and Vegetable Production

James Quinn
University of Missouri
(573) 634-2824

Published: September 1, 2012

I went to visit growers with Central and Clark Produce Auctions in late July/early August and was impressed to see vegetable production holding up fairly well. This was further verified by an article in Vegetable Growers News, titled 'Vegetables coming to market despite the drought'. The article summed it, saying if you had the water, the crops seemed to do well despite the heat.

With that overview, below are some observations by growers or MU specialists:

  • Tomato blossom end rot was notably worse this year, as was fruit cracking.
  • Dryland pumpkins have had very poor fruit set. Even irrigated pumpkins are less.
  • Sweet corn was difficult to grow, even with irrigation; the systems for sweet corn are generally designed to supplement water, not provide it all.
  • Green beans were difficult to grow for a 2nd year in a row.
  • Tomato health overall.
  • Growers forced to supplement with county water are getting noticeably high water bills.
  • Irrigation wells sources appear to have held up.
  • Irrigation ponds are very low, but it seems they’ll hold out. A few folks have pumped from two different ponds, or pumped one pond into another, or from a well, to get some extra water.
  • Growers used the dry weather last year, and this year’s to deepen and widen ponds. Please note the insert which may be helpful in providing guidance on deepening and enlarging existing ponds.

Also accompanying this newsletter

  • Results from a grafted tomato study conducted by Dave Trinklein.
  • An article discussing the lingering effect of the drought on the subsoil.

Field day and farm tour planned for Aug. 28th

  • As with previous years, a central Missouri farm tour is being planned for the last Wednesday before Labor Day. It will likely start at the produce auction, visit a farm or two, and end at LU’s field day.

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REVISED: November 30, 2015