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Dreadful Drought Ahead?

February 27, 2013
drought soil

Weather repeat impacts more than farmers’ fi elds and pocketbooks

As of January, 509 counties in 13 states were still declared disasters, notes one meteorologist. Allen Motew, a QT Weather meteorologist, says current conditions show a change in deep soil moisture levels in the eastern U.S.

Motew acknowledges that many forecasts are predicting those east of the Mississippi River will be fine, while those west of the river won’t be. He doesn’t believe that’s going to be the case this growing season.

"Moving into May and June, the heat is expected to return to most of the U.S."

"We don’t have La Nina to deal with, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects the drought to persist through April for much of the western half of the U.S. and parts of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and into Virginia," Motew says. "Moving into May and June, the heat is expected to return to most of the U.S. while moisture remains a concern."

It’s possible that more areas will be impacted by drought-like conditions. Motew explains that the U.S. National Multi-Model Ensemble shows much of the Midwest and southeast will be dry. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration weather maps also depict extremely dry conditions for most of the Corn Belt, Motew says.

Added Pressure. The weather impacts more than farmers’ fields and pocket books, says Bill York, CEO of AgriBank, Farm Credit.

"This means that lenders will maintain discipline with real estate loans," York says. "This forecast could be dangerous for crop insurance, as we had record payouts in 2012." He’s not sure what the result would be if farmers were to experience a repeat of last year.

"If Allen’s information is correct, the livestock or protein sector should be preparing for increased feed costs and arranging resources to deal with these conditions—temperatures, precipitation, costs and cash flow, York says."

A second consecutive drought year across the Corn Belt could impact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, York says. They might be forced to change the volume requirements or substitute the cornbased requirement with another biomass feedstock if corn production is low and prices are high.

Dreadful Drought TP p68

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FEATURED IN: Top Producer - March 2013



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