Recent snow doesn't do much to alleviate drought - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Recent snow doesn't do much to alleviate drought

QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) - Planting season is still months away but local farmers are keeping an eye now on snowfall and its impact on soil moisture levels.

The drought in 2012 and 2013 left the soil still needing moisture and University of Illinois Ag Extension Educator Mike Roegge says soil moisture levels are at about 50 percent of where producers want them to be. He says even with the recent snow fall and rain not much has changed.

"You really don't build soil moisture levels with snow fall," Roegge said. "It just doesn't add up very quickly. We are hoping to build those moisture levels up during the early spring and hopefully not hinder too much as far as planting progress and wet soil in April and May."

Local crop and livestock farmer Jason Schmitt says the drought in 2012 was worse than 2013, but he hopes 2014 brings better conditions.

"Well I think farmers are always optimistic," Schmitt said. "You have to be optimistic to be a farmer when you put that much money into the ground and hope that mother nature will bless you with a good crop, you have to be optimistic. In the Spring, everybody is optimistic."

Schmitt and Roegge said that a farmer can be protected by crop insurance, but beyond that there is not much they can do to recoup financial losses if the moisture levels continue to stay down.

Schmitt said if another drought occurs it could drive up prices of corn and other crops as well as meat prices.
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