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A warning to farmers: Drought seen persisting

Another Drought article. Myself, I don't have a crystal ball to predict the 2013 crop season weather, so I am going to plan on just a normal weather pattern for 2013. I am not going to crank down my corn pop rate per acre to only 31,500/acre. I have already bought my seed and I am going to stay at the 35,500 to 38,500 per acre seeding rate. Trying to guess the weather is fruitless. If I knew for a fact that the drought would continue, I would crank the seeding rate down to maybe 29,500 to 31,500 an acre, but again if I did that all I would be doing is trying to secord guess the Rain God in the sky. So I am going to proceed for the 2013 crop season just like it will be a normal weather year. Watch, I will get burned big-time and we will have the drought continue, but what is a guy suppose to do? No Crystal Ball in my part of northern Iowa to consult. Article is below:





A warning to farmers: Drought seen persisting

WASHINGTON — After suffering through the worst drought in decades last year, Iowa farmers should brace for another round of hot, dry conditions in 2013, weather forecasters warned Thursday.

As the spring planting season nears, forecasters have expressed concern that much of the Midwest could remain starved for moisture, though they caution it’s still too early to safely predict the weather several months out.

Tony Lupo, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Missouri, said in a news release that the Midwest could see an increase in rain late in the summer, but the relief will be much too late to help farmers.

And Roger Pulwarty, a director with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who focuses on drought, told the Senate Agriculture Committee that “the continuing conditions really look like they’re setting up for a very similar level of drought in the Midwest and West” this year.

The 2012 drought spread beyond the Midwest to affect more than 60 percent of the contiguous U.S., making it the worst since the 1930s. A sharp drop in crop yields pushed corn and soybean prices to record highs during the summer, and costs to feed livestock soared, forcing producers to send their herds to slaughter rather than pay the higher feed costs.

Conditions have since improved in the eastern Corn Belt states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, but the western Corn Belt, primarily Iowa, remains severely or extremely dry.

Joe Glauber, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top economist, was more optimistic. He told senators that conditions should recover this year, lowering prices for corn, soybeans and other crops.

“Assuming adequate precipitation, it is likely that the major spring-planted row crops will see a return to trend yields,” Glauber said. “If so, a rebuilding of stocks and lower commodity prices would be expected in the fall. This should help relieve feed prices.”

The latest Drought Monitor, a report by the U.S. government and the University of Nebraska, showed that through Tuesday, much of the northwest quadrant of Iowa was still gripped by exceptional or extreme drought, while the rest of the state was in at least a moderate drought category. A recent USDA survey of Iowa soils showed that even after recent rains and snowstorms, 90 percent of Iowa’s 24 million acres were moisture-deficient.

But Glauber said the early season moisture levels are “a poor predictor” of how things will play out during the growing season. During the last 60 years in Iowa, corn yields were above average in half of the seasons that began with low subsoil moisture levels, he said.

Throughout the U.S., drought conditions persisted in 66 percent of corn areas, 59 percent of winter wheat areas, 56 percent of soybean areas and 69 percent of cattle-producing areas at the end of January, according to government data. “Cattle on the southern Plains are in a dry situation,” Glauber told reporters after he appeared before the Senate panel. “We are very concerned.”

Crop insurance payments helped farmers recover lost income caused by the drought in 2012. Glauber told the committee that about $14.2 billion in indemnity payments have been made to producers for 2012 crops, but he said that figure could rise as high as $17 billion.


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