FARGO - There is reason for farmers to be optimistic about a profitable crop next year despite the past summer's nationwide drought, say experts who spoke Tuesday during the annual Northern Ag Expo.
Farmers will just have to play it smart, they said during a session at the Fargodome.
With Illinois and Iowa corn growers expected to reduce acres next year due to a fight with root worms and continuing drought, producers in North Dakota could make a good profit in 2013 if they increase or hold steady with corn acres, said John McGillicuddy, a corn production specialist from Iowa City, Iowa.
McGillicuddy thinks there's a 60 percent chance of producing a record 15 million bushels of corn nationwide in 2013.
The return of this summer's drought, which ravaged a majority of the U.S., leaving soil moisture very low, is a concern for farmers making decisions about the 2013 growing season.
Weather analyst Drew Lerner with World Weather Inc. said fall 2012 moisture conditions are similar to 1934, when the U.S. was hit with one of its worst droughts.
Because the weather in 2012 produced a major drought, Lerner said chances of a second consecutive major drought are slim. It has never happened in the 118 years of recorded weather history, he said.
"If you're in the heart of the Midwest and you're worried about a second year of bad drought, (it's) not going to happen," Lerner said. "I feel confident about that."
More than 200 crop production exhibits and displays lined the floor of the Fargodome during the 42nd Northern Ag Expo that began Tuesday and ends today.