Soils react differently to weather changes, but some nutrients that are vital for plant growth, such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulfur (S), have a tendency to be at slightly higher levels in soils after drought than before. While these higher levels could assist production in the short term, Beck says growers should continue to perform soil tests prior to planting and have tissue samples analyzed over the course of the growing season to make sure they're supplying their crops with necessary nutrients. In areas where pre-drought levels were distinctly undersupplied, nutrient deficiencies will still deter growth.

"Nitrates and sulfates will remain in soil until tile lines run and take those nutrients with it," Beck says. "If the tile lines don't run, then sample soils between the surface and 1 ft. and again at a depth between 1 and 2 ft. to identify how much N and S is available for the 2013 crop."

An area where the drought is unlikely to cause any significant long-term effects is soil pH.


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