He said plants have been developed with a larger root mass, which allows them to reach deeper for water and hold more in reserve. Certain varieties also are capable of rolling up their leaves to slow moisture loss.
"There's a lot of technology that goes into our corn crop," Niemeyer said.
Still, it's hard to say how the year will turn out with about half of the growing season to go.
Corn plants today withstand drought better than they did in 1988, but no variety exists that can produce significant yields without rain for six weeks and sustained temperatures above 100 degrees, said Tony Vyn, an agronomy professor at Purdue University.
"You get to the point where the water shortage is so severe that technology is not going to guarantee yield, even when you might have that expectation," he said. "My experience thus far is that drought-tolerant hybrids are no silver bullet."
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