Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Drought ready to deal another blow to US midwest corn, soy crops

Christopher Doering in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader: After suffering through the worst drought in decades last year, farmers throughout South Dakota should brace for another round of hot and dry conditions in 2013, some weather forecasters warned.

However a new weather outlook will be released Thursday “which will have a little more indication of what the national folks are thinking,” says South Dakota Climatologist Dennis Todey. In the near term, “what we are seeing at this point indicates there will be some recovery in the spring, especially in the early spring, and more so in the eastern and northern parts of the state,” he says.

“As we get on into the summer, the message gets a little hazier. I will be curious to see what the outlook says,” Todey says.

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. The Midwest could see a late summer increase in rainfall, but the relief will be much too late to help farmers, according to one prediction from a University of Missouri researcher.

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

From NASA, a satellite image of crops growing in Kansas in 2001, under better conditions than exist today

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