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2012 Indiana Drought Information


As drought conditions worsen in Indiana, NRCS is putting together a plan to communicate information and resources to keep you informed about programs and services that can benefit you.

As of today, Indiana is the worst hit of the major corn and soybean states.  Reports from every corner of the state indicate moderate to severe conditions comparable to the 1988 drought.  Combined with days of heat stress, crops are quickly showing signs of failure.  Areas in the Northeast and Southwest are the hardest hit and are considered severe.  A number of areas in the state have received spotty precipitation (mainly in the Northwest and Southeast), but not enough to significantly improve growing conditions.  Some of these areas where rain has fallen have also received high wind and hail damage. 

Please check back daily for updated information about the 2012 Indiana drought.


Summary of Conservation Concerns


Crop losses will be uneven across the state (some areas reporting up to 30% crop failure) and will vary by region, soil types, management practices and whether grain/livestock.  Yield losses will be partially offset by higher crop prices and since we are a major corn/soybean state, when yields are low, prices tend to rise. Corn yield losses due to non pollination cannot be recovered – they are irreversible. The pollination window is closed in southern Indiana and will close by July 10thin Central Indiana. 



Most soybeans are stagnant due to lack of moisture and heat stress.  As of July, 20% of soybeans were rated good to excellent and as of the same date, approximately 90% is short to very short in soil moisture.  The next 3 weeks will be critical as this is the time of flowering.  When flowering occurs under heat stress, it will affect the fill.  Even if rain returns and is average for the remaining summer, soybean yields will be low. 



Livestock production also faces the potential for large financial losses due to much higher feed prices for corn, soybean meal, and forages.  Drought conditions create shortages in forage supplies that can significantly impact beef and dairy operations.  In addition, heat stress and animal well-being is a major concern.  Reports indicate that farmers are being proactive to seek sources of additional forage.  Reports also indicate that animals are being sold to thin herds.  In times of shortages, testing and proper storage of feed is key to keeping animals healthy. 


Drainage Water Management - Managing Levels for Crops

Producers who have established drainage water management systems (subsurface water drainage with a water control structure) are reminded to ensure the outlet (boards in the control structure) has been raised to conserve soil moisture and hopefully capture any future drainage water.   The goal is to provide enough drainage for good aeration and root development but to capture some of the water that would otherwise drain out under conventional systems.  If fortunate enough to have moisture, it will be necessary to maintain water table depth so as not to impact plant rooting.  Careful attention to drainage water management for water conservation may increase yields, particularly in dry years. This may apply to EQIP Drainage Water Management (554) and/or CSP Enhancement, Drainage water management for nutrient, pathogen, or pesticide reduction (SQL03).

Frequently Asked Questions (PDF; 93KB)


Drought Factsheets and Publications

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 10.16.12 - Managing for Drought with Soil Health and CSS (PDF; 444 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.13.12 - Available Resources Overview (PDF; 191 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.13.12 - Program Flexibility (PDF; 960 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 7.20.12 - Engineering Practices (PDF; 141 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.2.12 - Cover Crops and No-Till (PDF; 530 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.6.12 - Pasture and Grazing (PDF; 221 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.13.12 - Deferred Grazing (PDF; 205 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.13.12 - Cover Crops for Seed Dealers (PDF; 226 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.13.12 - Warm Season Grasses (PDF; 264 KB)

NRCS Drought Series Factsheet 8.22.12 - Wildlife (PDF; 244 KB)

Purdue:  Cover Crops following the Summer 2012 Drought (PDF; 102 KB)

Risk Management Agency: Crop Insurance During a Drought (PDF; 153 KB)

Purdue Extension:  Cover Crop for Nitrogen Management (PDF; 88 KB)

Purdue Extension:  Signs of Drought Stress in Soybeans (PDF; 784 KB)

Purdue Extension:  Drought Consideration for Soybean (PDF; 187 KB)

Purdue Extension:  Drought Strategies for Feeding and Managing Dairy Cattle

Purdue Extension:  Beef Management Practices for Coping with a Short Forage Supply (DOC; 291 KB)

Purdue Extension:  Nitrate Analysis is Important for Drought-stressed Corn Plants Destined for Forage

FSA:  Indiana FSA Drought Factsheet (PDF; 129 KB)

Farm Bureau:  Crop Market Update - July 12, 2012 (PDF; 457 KB)

NRCS:  Estimated Precipitation for Indiana - April through June, 2012 (PDF; 288 KB)


Drought Job Sheets


Updated 8.30 - CRP Emergency Grazing (PDF; 287 KB)

Updated 8.30 - CRP Managed Grazing (PDF; 281 KB)

Updated 8.30 - CRP Emergency Forage Harvest (PDF; 213 KB)

Updated 8.30 - CRP Managed Forage Harvest (PDF; 211 KB)

Indiana FSA Provisions - CRP Haying and Grazing (PDF; 151 KB)


WRP Drought Grazing (PDF; 204 KB)

WRP Drought Forage Harvest (PDF; 213 KB)

Drought Press Releases

**NEW** NRCS:  NRCS Announcing Grants to Help Farmers Adapt to Drought

**NEW** NRCS:  Additional Funds for Drought Farm Bill Funding in Indiana

NRCS:  Natural Resources Conservation Service Announces Funding for Drought Stricken Producers and Landowners in Indiana

NRCS:  NRCS Announces Special Sign Up for Drought Relief (DOC; 38 KB)

NRCS:  Hardisty Announces Haying and Grazing on Indiana Wetland Reserve Program Acres (PDF; 245 KB)

NRCS:  New Conservation Resources Available to Assist Landowners with Difficult Drought Decisions (PDF; 257 KB)

FSA: Sixty-Four Indiana Counties in Total Now Designated Primary Natural Disaster Areas (DOC; 182 KB)

FSA: Vilsack Opens Emergency Haying and Grazing of CRP Acres for Entire State (PDF; 65 KB)

Risk Management Agency:  Crop Insurance Reminders for Drought Conditions

NRCS:  IN NRCS Provides Assistance to Farmers in Drought Areas

FSA:  USDA Announces Streamlined Disaster Designation Process with Lower Emergency Loan Rates and Greater CRP Flexibility in Disaster Areas

FSA: USDA Designates Thirty-Six Counties in Indiana as Primary Natural Disaster Areas

FSA: Emergency Grazing of CRP Acres for 22 Counties in Indiana (PDF; 43 KB)

No-Till Farmer: Cover Crops Do More than Conserve Water During Drought

Drought Web Resources

National NRCS Drought Webpage

Drought Resource Initiative Network

USDA Disaster and Drought Assistance

Indiana Drought Information

Purdue Extension Drought Event Calendar

FSA Secretarial Disaster Designations Map - Check daily for updates

FSA Hay Net

Purdue Forage Finder

National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center - US Seasonal Drought Outlook Map

National Weather Service Drought Conditions Information

Purdue Extension - IN Drought

Indiana State Climate Office

Droughts and How it Effects Wildlife

Indiana State Board of Animal Health - Blue Green Algae

General Drought Information– Extension Education Network:  

Ag Answers:

Indiana Drought Monitor:,MW 

Indiana Climate Office:

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network:

Crops information from Purdue Extension:  

Livestock information from Purdue Extension:

Pest and Disease information from Purdue Extension:

Indiana Drought Watch:

ISDA Drought Page:

Insuring a Crop Following Cover Crops:

Crop Insurance Drought Information:

Purdue Information on Trees and Drought:

Purdue Information on Aflatoxin: