From the Farm: Drought concerns

Morning Show Features

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — There are growing concerns about drought this year. 2012 was the last major drought year, but could this year be similar.

This morning, prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange are higher with corn on a rip and tear toward $7 per bushel, and soybeans slightly higher in the mid-$15 per bushel range. The reason is U.S. supplies for both are tight. In South America, China has bought all of the available soybeans from Brazil, and now their new corn crop is suffering from a drought.

But the more overpowering dynamic is the growing concern for a drought in the upcoming U.S. growing season.

Drought does not happen fast, it is very slow, but it is on the move eastward and 63 percent of the nation is now in some degree of drought.

Meteorologist Eric Snodgrass, well known in this area, said last week, “I rarely go out on a limb like this, but I am more concerned than normal abut drought east of the Rockies.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a Seasonal Climate Forecast for below-normal precipitation over large parts of the western U.S. through the remainder of 2021. And it encroaches on the northern Cornbelt.

An economist Jim Mintert, on a Purdue webinar, said, “It’s pretty early in the season to be talking about drought, in April.” Nonetheless, arid weather in the Dakotas “has to give you some concern.”

Also expressing concern is a noted crop specialist at Iowa State University. Sotirios Archontoulis posted a blog comment last week that would stop most farmers in their tracks. He said, “The concern for not having enough water during the 2021 growing season is increasing.”

His comments resulted from topsoil moisture maps that indicate a substantial portion of Iowa would now be considered in a drought. And that type of news gives the grain markets more rocket fuel.

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