NWS: ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS TO EXTEND INTO SPRING... The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) says ENSO-neutral conditions continued during September as sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies were near average across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Additionally, it says the majority of its models indicate neutral conditions will continue into spring.
The CPC, however, says a few models (mainly statistical) call for a borderline or weak La Nina into winter while a few others (mainly dynamic) forecast a warming toward a borderline or weak El Nino event. The table below shows how the models are heavily weighting the probability of the neutral ENSO event continuing:
|CPC/IRI Early-Month Consensus ENSO Forecast Probabilities
DROUGHT MONITOR SHOWS SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT NATIONWIDE... According to the National Drought Monitor, drought covers 57.77% of the contiguous U.S., which is down from 60.43% last week. The High Plains saw significant drought improvement, with 38.88% of the region now drought-free, compared to 29.87% last week. But Kansas contributed only slightly to that improvement, as 51.66% of the state remains covered by some form of drought, which compares to 53.86% last week.
But the outlook is favorable for winter wheat establishment, as its outlook for Oct. 14-18 says the best chances for above-normal precip are across the Central and Southern Plains. Click here for related images.
FALL-LIKE WEATHER TO RETURN TO MIDWEST... Meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com says the summer-like conditions many are enjoying across the Midwest will come to an end shortly. "The weather is set to deteriorate today in the Northern Great Plains with a wave of strong showers. This would be followed by more wet weather on the weekend... Widespread rain is indicated in the Great Plains and Upper Midwest. Very heavy rains of 1 to 3 inches would target Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota," she says.
Additionally, Martell says a hard freeze is expected on Sunday morning in Montana and North Dakota, with scattered frost possible in Nebraska and western Iowa.
LUCAS REITERATES OPPOSITION TO LINKING CROP INSURANCE, CONSERVATION PRACTICES... Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Ag Committee, reiterated his opposition to linking crop insurance payments to compliance with conservation measures on highly erodible lands and sensitive wetlands after the American Farm Bureau Federation's (AFBF) board voted to oppose the linkage. "Conservation compliance measures tied to crop insurance would be a misguided and redundant regulatory burden imposed on farmers and their property rights," he explained. Lucas says he is a firm believer in conservation practices, but added they should be voluntarily adopted by farmers, not imposed on them.
AFBF's vote backtracks on an agreement linking conservation compliance and crop insurance payments that the federation reached in May with 43 other groups, with Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) reportedly seeking Farm Bureau's help in getting support for the controversial measure. The final version of the House-passed farm bill (HR 2642) did not contain the language on conservation compliance.
Sources say some on the Senate Ag Committee staff are "livid" about the Farm Bureau change of position, saying it "threw Stabenow under the bus" on the matter.
IMPACTS FROM SOUTH DAKOTA BLIZZARD ON CATTLE MARKET... Private-industry estimates suggest 50,000 to 70,000 head of cattle were lost during the historic blizzard that hit South Dakota this past weekend. Given the tightening supply of cattle, the event has helped to support live and feeder cattle futures this week.
For producers dealing with death loss, it's a heartbreaking tragedy. A 60,000-head (average of guesstimates) loss would represent about one-tenth of one week of national beef cattle slaughter. That wouldn't be a big deal if the supply situation wasn't already extremely tight. The losses are also raising concern about producers' ability in the state to retain heifers, which would impact the already-tight feeder calf situation.
Of immediate impact on South Dakota producers is their inability to apply for disaster relief due to the government shutdown. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has encouraged producers to document losses.