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Purdue scientists working to make drought resistant crops


 Purdue scientists working to make drought-resistant crops


Purdue Extension & EDEN - IN Drought. Drought related information & resources

Click to visit Purdue Extensions Consumer and Home Owner Drought Information page 
Click to visit Purdue Extensions Consumer and Home Owner Drought Information Archives page 
Click to visit Purdue Extensions Consumer and Home Owner Drought Information Video Archives page 

Indiana Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor is a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center, United States Department of Agriculture, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC-UNL.

Purdue Extension Resources

Education Store Drought-Related Publications lists educational materials that focus on drought topics available from Purdue Extension — most are free

Ag and Natural Resources
Drought Information

Ag Answers news website covers production agriculture issues, including drought for Indiana and Ohio

Purdue Animal Sciences Drought Information provides links to drought-related publications, videos, and other resources for livestock producers

Chat 'n Chew Cafe: Corny News Network: Crops and Drought compiles links to drought-related articles, publications, and weather information for crop farmers

Drought and Legal Implications of Forward Cash Contacts (PDF) provides producers with details regarding forward cash contracts

Family Finances provides tips for managing a sudden loss of family income brought on by drought or other factors

Filing a Crop Insurance Claim: An Overview for Producers (PDF) covers basic information about preparing crop insurance claims

Got Nature consists of blog postings from Purdue's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, including information about the drought

How to File a Crop Insurance Claim (PDF) summarizes the crop insurance claims process for farmers

Income Enhancement Strategies for Farmers provides ideas for generating additional farm income during difficult times

Indiana Farmstead Assessment: Drinking Water Well addresses water well maintenance, testing, and troubleshooting

Managing in Times of Financial Stress offers tips for managing farm finances during difficult times, such as drought

Pest & Crop Newsletter — Special Drought Issue provides agronomic, plant disease, and pest drought tips

Weekly Outlook Newsletter updates the drought's economic impact in Indiana and Illinois

Responding to Financial Stress What are the Options? (PDF) lists strategic steps to handle reduced income due to drought

Strategies for Dealing with Ag Lenders offers tips that prepare you to talk with agricultural lenders

Weekly Yield Estimate compares expected drought-reduced yields from Indiana and U.S., updated every Monday by 5 p.m.

Indiana Resources

Burn Ban Map provides real-time updates of the burn ban status for all Indiana counties

Dry Weather provides dry weather and fire safety tips, plus updates on burn bans across Indiana

Extreme Heat highlights what to do during extreme heat to protect yourself from heat-related illness

Fireworks Safety details firework laws and safety tips, and lists Indiana counties with active firework restrictions

Food Safety During Power Outages (ISDH) (PDF) offers ways to store food during power outages and how to identify hazardous foods

Indiana Department of Homeland Security provides public safety information and tips for Indiana residents

Indiana DNR: Licensed Water Well Drilling Contractors provides a list of water well drilling contractors who are licensed in Indiana

Indiana State Climate Office provides current and historical weather observations recorded throughout Indiana


This page provides Purdue Extension resources about the drought specifically for agricultural producers.

Purdue Extensions will continue to monitor the drought and update resources daily. If you have questions that are not answered here, contact your Purdue Extension county office. Please call (during normal business hours): 1-888-EXT-INFO (398-4636). Ask for Purdue Extension in your county. Or email


Purdue Extension field crops entomologist Christian Krupke demonstrates how to scout for spider mites in a soybean bean field and identify them.

Drought stress starting to set in on specialty and produce crops

By Abigail Maurer
July 25, 2012

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Drought that has stunted development of Indiana's corn and soybean crops doesn't necessarily spell disaster for specialty and produce crops, some of which have survived the long, hot, dry spell with less damage.

But as the season wears on, Purdue University horticulture specialists say the weather is becoming a greater concern - even for drought-tolerant crops and growers with irrigation systems.

"Indiana irrigation systems have not been designed for the extreme conditions of this summer, and it has been difficult to get enough water on all the crops when they need it," said Liz Maynard, Purdue Extension horticulture specialist. "The high temperatures also add additional stress that can reduce yield or quality even for crops that are irrigated."

Here is a summary of how specialty and produce crops are faring:

  • Tree fruits: Tree fruits, such as peaches and apples, have been some of the least affected by the heat and drought. Purdue horticulture professor Peter Hirst explained that water is important in the first month of plant development because the fruit is the primary recipient of water. The drought currently is affecting shoot growth much more than fruit growth. Shoots are not growing at their normal rate, which can be beneficial for trees because less pruning is needed and the fruit has more opportunity to receive sunlight.

  • Berries: Irrigation is typical for berry crops, including strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. But the extreme conditions might have made it difficult for irrigation systems to keep up with the crops, said Bruce Bordelon, Purdue Extension horticulture specialist. The hot temperatures cause berries to ripen quickly and may result in soft, less flavorful fruit. Reduced soil moisture also can reduce berry size.

  • Grapes: The weather is now beginning to pose a serious problem for the grape crops. Well-established vineyards have deep, extensive root systems and, until recently, vines were showing only slight drought stress. Bordelon said dry weather usually increases fruit quality because there is less fruit rot, and sugar concentration within the fruit is increased. But with the extended drought and heat, vineyards are beginning to show signs of stress. Young vines are dropping leaves, while older vines are showing stress on hot, sunny days. Rain is needed soon or the crop might not ripen.

  • Cantaloupe and watermelon: Watermelon has suffered because of reduced fruit set and yield. Purdue Extension specialist Dan Egel estimates that about half of watermelon fields are not irrigated. Recent rainfall aided some watermelon fields but came too late for others. Cantaloupes have not been as seriously affected by the drought because most fields are irrigated. Some cantaloupes, however, have suffered from the extreme heat.

  • Tomatoes: Despite proper irrigation, tomatoes have been affected by the weather. Like berries, the heat has made it difficult to keep tomato crops well watered, Maynard said. When there are lapses in irrigation, the tomato may develop blossom-end rot, a disease that occurs when the fruit receives insufficient calcium and shows as a dark lesion on the bottom of the fruit. During seasons of drought, there may be sufficient calcium in the soil, but the lack of water prevents the calcium from reaching the fruit.

Purdue Extension has compiled farmer, homeowner and consumer drought resources at IN Drought.


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