After reaching a record high in 2022, U.S. farm exports will plateau amid a world of uncertainties, said the USDA chief economist on Tuesday. The strong dollar and slower economic growth worldwide will be a drag on exports, now forecast by USDA at $193.5 billion this fiscal year, down slightly from the estimated record of $196 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30.
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.
Drought will persist into the winter in the South and expand in the wheat-growing southern Plains, says the National Weather Service in a forecast running through Feb. 28. Some 30 percent of the nation already is in drought, and the past month has been very warm and dry east of the Rocky Mountains.
The global grain glut and weaker demand from China will keep grain prices low into next year, according to analysts at Olam International, one of the world's largest commodities traders, reports Bloomberg.
NOAA has shelved its La Niña watch because its forecasters see little prospect for the weather pattern, somewhat of a mirror to the better-known El Niño, for the next six months. In June, La Niña chances were 75 percent but they are now 40 percent because air and water temperatures in the southern Pacific Ocean are relatively neutral between the two weather patterns.
More than 60 million people worldwide, including 40 million in eastern and southern Africa, are at risk of hunger due to the El Niño weather pattern that is now waning, said leaders of three UN agencies.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology says one of the strongest El Niño weather patterns in history is over, and it gives a 50-percent chance that a La Niña pattern will be upon us by the end of this year, reports the Financial Times. La Niña "typically brings cooler and wetter conditions in the Pacific and more storms in Europe and the United States."
Much of central and southern Texas is abnormally dry following unusually warm weather and two months of scanty rainfall, reports the Drought Monitor.
The strength of the El Niño or La Niña weather phenomenon in December can help predict the frequency of tornadoes and crop-damaging hailstorms in the southern and central Plains and parts of the South, says the Earth Institute at Columbia University.