Saturday, July 21, 2012

U.S. crops bake in searing heat, no relief for weeks

Sam Nelson in Reuters: Midday weather updates indicate extreme heat and drought conditions were set to continue baking already scorched corn and soybean crops in America's breadbasket through early August. "It's the same old general theme, dry in the southwest Corn Belt and some showers in the north and east," said Drew Lerner, meteorologist for World Weather Inc.

The most expansive drought in over a half century was drying up waterways and beginning to slow down river shipments of commodities to U.S. Gulf export ports and was leading to fresh cuts in estimates for this year's corn production.

Further damage is expected to corn and soybean crops that already have been nearly decimated in some Midwest areas, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday.

"It will be dry and very hot in the area with temperatures in the 100s (degrees Fahrenheit) in St. Louis Sunday through Thursday, reaching 106 F on Wednesday," said Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather. The same scenario is expected for much of the central and western Midwest.

Beginning in the eastern and southern Midwest, the drought has spread to the central and western areas of the region, including the top two corn producing states, Iowa and Illinois. Keeney said a little relief from the historic drought was received late this week from rainfall in the northern and eastern Midwest. However, crops in those states, especially corn, had already been significantly damaged....

A 2011 drought already hit US livestock farmers, photo by Al Jazeera English, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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