Searing drought in the central and southern Plains will result in the smallest winter wheat crop since 2002 and the second smallest in 47 years, said the USDA in its first estimate of the summer harvest.
After a record-setting fire season in 2017, this year “is showing all signs of another historic year,” said interim Forest Service chief Vicki Christiansen on Thursday. “I will say above normal is our new normal.”
Cattle producers in Oklahoma lost $26 million in stock, fencing, and facilities to wildfires during April, estimated Derrell Peel, a livestock marketing specialist at Oklahoma State University.
More than 19 million acres of corn were planted last week, thanks to generally favorable weather in the Midwest, according to the Crop Progress report released on Monday.
Kansas will reap its smallest winter wheat crop since 1989 and neighboring Oklahoma will harvest half of its usual total because of a months-long drought in the Plains, crop scouts said on Thursday after touring the winter wheat belt.
Nearly half of the winter wheat in Kansas, often the biggest wheat-producing state in the country, is in poor or very poor condition as the growing season opens across the United States, said the USDA in the first of this year's weekly Crop Progress reports. Drought, ranging in intensity from moderate to exceptional, covers much of the central and southern Plains, the heart of winter wheat production.
Prolonged drought will limit Argentina’s soybean crop to 47 million tonnes this year, about 10 million tonnes less than usual, estimated the USDA in its monthly WASDE report.
When the winter wheat crop breaks dormancy over the next few weeks, it will face arid conditions in the central and southern Plains due to an extraordinarily dry winter, said an agricultural meteorologist.
Argentina is headed for its worst drought in three decades, and a downturn in crop production will likely slow the economic recovery in a country where corn and soybeans account for 36 percent of all exports, said Bloomberg.
Little precipitation has fallen during California’s traditional wet season, so drought is likely across the state during the spring, said the National Weather Service. Drought was also expected to expand in Texas and the southern Plains, a key region for winter wheat.