MU climatologist talks about drought impact on 2024 crops

Register now for Dec. 6-7 Crop Management Conference.

  • Published: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The annual University of Missouri Crop Management Conference, Dec. 6-7, will offer insight into how the 2023 drought will affect crops in the year ahead.

MU Extension state climatologist Zack Leasor will give an update on weather and climate conditions that led to the onset and persistence of the 2023 drought across Missouri.

The event at the Columbia Holiday Inn Executive Center offers two days of sessions by leading agriculture experts on weather and climate, weeds, crop diseases, insects and new technology. Certified Crop Adviser credits are available.

Leasor says Missourians benefited from cooler weather and some rain this fall, but drought concerns remain. The 2023 drought extended into fall with 52% of the state still in drought as of Nov. 7, he says. Also, 19% of the state is in severe or extreme drought.

“This has resulted in a continuation of drought impacts, including agricultural concerns, enhanced fire risk and low water levels on streams, rivers and ponds,” Leasor says. “With November already off to a dry start, predictions are optimistic for more widespread rainfall to return to the state by late month. Heading into winter, the amount of rainfall received ahead of the 2024 growing season will be critical for drought recovery and restoring soil moisture and water supply.”

Leasor will explain how the dominant driver for this winter is El Nino, which will bring slightly higher-than-normal temperatures and slight chances for above-normal rainfall in Missouri, he says. “Based on this forecast, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is predicting drought improvement and removal for all of Missouri by the end of January.”

During the conference, Leasor also will give a summary of annual weather conditions, agricultural and hydrologic drought impacts, the U.S. Drought Monitor process and the outlook for drought recovery during the winter of 2023-2024. He also will review notable events during Missouri’s 2023 drought and an overview of the state’s climate trends.

Register for the conference at

Writer: Linda Geist

Use Tab key to loop through the section below. Press Enter or Space to enter content for each tab button. Press Esc key to exit and to go to the next section at any time.

Extension resources