Abnormally high feed costs, partly the result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are ruining organic livestock producers and federal relief payments are vital to keep farmers in business, said organic trade groups and businesses. "A perfect storm of trade disruptions, international conflicts and acute drought conditions has created a situation no farmer could have planned for or foreseen," said the 13 groups in a letter to lawmakers released on Monday.
The drought-hit U.S. cotton crop is slightly larger than previously thought, at 14 million bales, but exports are stagnant for this marketing year, said the USDA on Thursday. The monthly WASDE report said cotton production was down worldwide.
Drought deepened during “quite the dry week” in the High Plains, said the Drought Monitor on Thursday. “Flash drought conditions are impacting the region, especially in the Dakotas, where warm, dry, and windy conditions have provided ideal harvest conditions but have started taking a toll.”
Farmers in the Midwest and the mid-South are paying the price for low water on the Mississippi River in the form of lower cash bids for their corn and soybeans — as much as $2 a bushel lower for soybeans, said USDA economists on Wednesday. At the same time, the cost of transporting fertilizer upriver has increased, and neither situation is likely to change before late winter.
Only 28 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop is in good or excellent condition, one of the worst starts for the crop in years, said the USDA's Crop Progress report on Monday. Three-quarters of winter wheat land is in drought, including nine of every 10 acres in Kansas, the top wheat producing state.
More than six of every 10 acres in the continental United States is in drought, with arid conditions stretching from the Appalachians to the Pacific Coast, said the weekly Drought Monitor on Thursday. Conditions worsened in the Ohio Valley, as warm weather combined with below-normal precipitation to dry the Midwest.
Winter will be drier and warmer than usual for the central to southern Plains and the Southeast, said government forecasters on Thursday, suggesting there would be little drought relief in major wheat-growing states or precipitation to restore water levels in the Mississippi River. It would be the third U.S. winter in a row under the La Niña pattern, which typically brings warmer and drier weather to the U.S. southern tier, from California to the Carolinas.
More than half of U.S. winter wheat territory is in drought but growers are sowing the grain at a faster pace than usual, said the Crop Progress report on Monday. In USDA's first look at the new crop, it said the grain was planted on 21 percent of winter wheat land in the 18 leading states, 4 points ahead of the five-year average.
The drought-hit corn and soybean crops are smaller than expected, said the government on Monday, slicing 451 million bushels from its estimate of the corn harvest and 152 million bushels from its soybean forecast. The revisions reduced this year's crops to also-rans instead of contenders for the record books.
With the fall harvest getting under way, traders expect the USDA to trim its estimate of the U.S. corn crop by more than a quarter-billion bushels on Monday but to stick to its forecast of the largest soybean crop ever, at roughly 4.5 billion bushels. Dry weather in the western Corn Belt, including powerhouses Iowa and Nebraska, will lower corn production to just below 14.1 billion bushels, or 1 billion bushels less than last year, according to the average estimate from traders surveyed by wire services.
As he prepares for a possible presidential run, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has burnished some of his progressive credentials with a flurry of new legislation. On Monday, he rattled the fast food industry by signing a bill that could increase fast food workers' minimum wage to as much as $22 an hour, and he has made national news for his aggressive new policies to address the climate crisis.
On Tuesday, the Interior Department’s new water restrictions for the Colorado River offered a warning: If stakeholders fail to make further cuts in usage, one of the nation’s most vital watersheds could face, according to assistant secretary Tanya Trujillo, “catastrophic collapse.” Robert Glennon, one of the country’s leading experts in water policy and law, discusses what it means and what comes next. (No paywall)
U.S. cotton growers will harvest a drought-shortened crop of 12.57 million bales, their smallest since 2009, according to the USDA's monthly Crop Production report. Texas, the No. 1 producer, would account for nearly all of the nearly 5-million-bale decline in production from last year.
Faced with the worst drought in 1,200 years and a dwindling water supply, Gov. Gavin Newsom outlined a new, long-term water strategy for California at a press conference on Thursday. His plan, he said, would prepare the state for a hotter, drier future.
As California declared multiple drought emergencies and imposed mandatory water restrictions on residents in recent years, the state’s almond farmers expanded their orchards by a remarkable 78 percent, according to new research by Food & Water Watch.
Amid drought in the U.S. West, growers will abandon three of every 10 acres of cotton they planted this spring, estimated the Agriculture Department. In its monthly WASDE report, the USDA projected a cotton crop of 15.5 million bales, down by 1 million bales from its projection in early June.
Fifteen percent of the Midwest is affected by drought, twice as much of the region as a week ago, said the Drought Monitor on Thursday, as corn and soybean crops entered their reproductive stages. Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri had the largest increases, up 10 percentage points or more.
Up to 20 million people in drought-struck parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia could face acute food insecurity by September as livestock and crops struggle to survive, said 14 humanitarian and meteorological agencies. Four rainy seasons in a row have failed, a streak not seen in 40 years, and forecasts say there is a concrete risk that the October, November and December rains could fail, too.
Kansas grows one out of every six bushels of wheat harvested in the United States and often leads the nation in wheat production. But in several counties in the southwestern corner of the state, where the drought is at its worst, "very little wheat will make it to harvest," said the farmer-funded organization Kansas Wheat on Monday, pointing to arid conditions and "vicious" winter winds.