Blog Post

Upper Midwest: Are you drought-ready?

NORTH DAKOTA: Due to the lack of snowfall throughout the Upper Midwest this winter and light rainfall predicted, drought is a real possibility for much of the region this spring. Consider the following management options for corn and soybeans to ensure you’re ready.


  • Planting rate: Avoid higher-than-average rates (35,000 seeds per acre or higher) and implement a lower 32,000 seeds per acre to conserve water resources.
  • Variety selection: Selecting hybrids that will use water effectively all season long (like Agrisure Artesian® corn hybrids) is important, as is choosing one with a flex ear. The flex ear will fill in the yield gaps that result from a reduced planting rate.
  • Tillage: Try to reduce tillage to conserve soil moisture early in the season.
  • Disease protection: Applying a fungicide early will help keep the plant healthy and help reduce water loss.
  • Crop Rotation: Avoid having corn follow crops that are heavy users of water like sugarbeets and sunflowers. In fields where high-water users were grown, you’re better off planting an early-season crop like spring wheat that can finish before the summer heat sets in.


  • Planting rate: Consider lowering your planting rate and decreasing your row spacing to reduce drought stress.
  • Variety selection: Choose a drought-tolerant variety, but also remember plant height when making your selection. If droughty conditions do occur, choosing a taller variety will result in less plant height loss in the fall. .
  • Disease protection:A fungicide like Quilt Xcel® can help keep diseases under control and reduce plant transpiration rates to conserve water.

Contact your local Syngenta representative for more recommendations.

All photos are the property of Syngenta unless otherwise noted.

Reporting from Fargo, ND

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