American crops Corn, wheat and other agricultural products withered in a year of glaring climate change impacts

The summer drought’s hefty toll on American crops

Agricultural economists and others taking stock of this summer’s growing season say drought conditions and extreme weather have wreaked havoc on many row crops, fruits and vegetables, with the American Farm Bureau Federation suggesting yields could be down by as much as a third compared with last year. American corn is on track to produce its lowest yield since the drought of 2012, American crops, according to analysts at Rabobank, which collects data about commodity markets. This year’s hard red winter wheat crop was the smallest since 1963, the bank’s analysts said. In Texas, cotton farmers have walked away from nearly 70 percent of their crop because the harvest is so paltry, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The California rice harvest is half what it would be in a normal year, an industry group said. The poor yields are likely more than a one-year blip, as climate change alters weather patterns in agriculturally important parts of the country, contributing to higher food prices that experts don’t see ebbing any time soon. Drought has consumed 40 percent of the country for the past 101 weeks, USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey said. But precisely where that 40 percent is has shifted over time, meaning different swaths of the country’s agricultural land have been affected at different times, spreading pain and difficult choices geographically and by crop.

“Spring wheat, durum wheat, barley [in the Northeast those were just hammered in 2021. For some of those crops it was the lowest yields we’ve seen since the 1980s,” Rippey said. “The biggest impacts this year have been the Central and Southern Great Plains Nebraska southward through Texas — and the two big crops hit this year are grain sorghum [primarily used for animal feed] and cotton.”Based on last month’s numbers, he said, it looks like abandonment of the Texas cotton crop will be the highest on record, around 69 percent: “That’s when farmers just walk away.” American crops, In California, farmers are making tough choices to give up on their strawberries and tomatoes, lettuces and melons, so that whatever water they get goes to crops like almonds, grapes and olives, where they’ve sunk multiyear investments and the payoff is better, Rippey said. Even with recent rains, a lot of the western United States is still looking at a long-term drought, said Curtis Riganti, a climatologist at the National Drought Mitigation Center. “We’re seeing widespread extreme and exceptional drought in California’s Central Valley, parts of Nevada, central and southern Oregon, the central High Plains, southern Oklahoma and Texas,” he said. “And while we’ve seen a pretty active monsoon season this year over New Mexico, Arizona and southern Colorado, in terms of refilling reservoirs it doesn’t do a ton of good.” Every August for the past 30 years, a group of agricultural experts and volunteer farmers in the Midwest hop in their cars and convoy across seven states, a boots-on-the-ground backstop for the USDA’s ongoing predictions about annual crop yields. The USDA had reduced its corn forecast last month because of this summer’s drought. But the Pro Farmer Crop Tour, which concluded Aug. 25, found the corn yield was even worse than that lowered expectation. The on-the-ground inspectors also found the corn quality had suffered as a result of heat and dry conditions, with cobs carrying small grains and many suffering from “tipback,” when kernels are missing from the outer edge.Wheat has taken a walloping this year, with rains impeding spring planting after a protracted La Niña weather pattern meant several years of hotter and drier weather over key production areas.

Source: This news is originally published by washingtonpost

By Web Team

Technology Times Web team handles all matters relevant to website posting and management.