Drought taking financial toil on Mo. agriculture

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A drought across parts of Missouri this year could prove costly for farmers.

The University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources says the drought could cost the state’s soybean producers $300 million this year.

The drought lasted less than six months, but university experts say it dried the soil down to 5 feet below the surface — the depth where the roots of mature plants often seek moisture and nutrition.

University soil science professor Randall Miles says it will take persistent rains for many weeks or months to replenish the moisture in the soil. He says the 2012 Missouri corn crop could experience the greatest effects, because corn is planted earlier than soybeans or winter wheat.

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