Iowa Public Television


Extreme Weather Continues To Pressure Crops

posted on August 4, 2011

Extreme Weather Continues To Pressure Crops

Despite forecasts of rain and cooler weather the nation’s crops continue to suffer from extreme meteorological conditions.

 Across the 18 major corn-producing states 62 percent of the crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition. That’s on par with last week but 14 percent below a year ago at this time.

 Soybeans also have been “feeling the heat,” with 60 percent of the crop rated in good-to-excellent shape. That’s just a couple of points worse than last week but 10 percent below conditions in 2010.

 Cotton continues to suffer from lack of rain as well.  Nationally, 40 percent of the crop is in either poor or very-poor condition. But nowhere are conditions worse than in the Southern Plains. In Oklahoma, 88 percent of the crop is rated in the poor or very-poor range.  And in Texas, where temperatures have soared to more than 100 degrees for 30 consecutive days, 77 percent of the cotton is in poor to very-poor condition.

 Over the past year, the Lone Star State has received just a little more than 15 inches of rain making it the driest 12-month period on record. And Texas officials predict agricultural losses could reach the 8 billion dollar mark if the drought continues.

 As bad as conditions are for row-crop producers, Southern livestock producers are enduring monumental losses. Experiencing the worst conditions since the Dust Bowl, Oklahoma ranchers have been cutting their losses by culling their cattle herds At least one auction barn has been running from 8 in the morning to 9 at night and – in some cases – still making the call after sunup the next day.

 Amidst uncertain weather conditions traders appears to be factoring in substantial yield reductions. Private analysts released their estimates, this week, ahead of USDA’s much-anticipated August reports. Among the bullish prognostications were those made by the Linn Group, which predicts national average yield 152 bushels per acre, down 3 percent from last month. USDA will release its official numbers next week.

Tags: agriculture cattle corn cotton crops drought news Oklahoma soybeans summer Texas USDA weather