Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wondering What's Going to Happen with the Wheat Crop?
"Massive Crop Losses" Feared from South Drought
April 28, 2011
KANSAS CITY (Reuters) – The worst drought in more than 40 years intensified across Texas over the last week, with high winds and heat causing "massive crop losses," with little relief in sight, according to weather experts Thursday.
A report released Thursday from a consortium of national climate experts, dubbed the Drought Monitor, said drought worsened along the Texas border with Oklahoma, and in western, central and southern Texas.
Ranchers were struggling to feed and water cattle, and farmers were left to watch their crops shrivel into the dusty soil. Some experts estimated that producers were giving up on as much as 70 percent of the state's wheat acreage.
"There are some scary things going on in Texas," said Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, which released its weekly drought analysis Thursday morning.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Association said this week that the drought appeared to be the worst since at least 1967.
Lost agricultural production in Texas was estimated to top $3 billion, which compares with $4 billion in losses in 2006 and $3.6 billion in 2009.
The dramatically lower-than-normal amount of moisture in the soil has caused widespread crop failures, including to the state's hard red winter wheat crop.
Texas is a key production area for wheat. The losses there and in parts of the U.S. Plains hit by drought will aggravate already short supplies around the world.
"There has been some significant damage to the wheat crop," said analyst Jerry Gidel of North American Risk Management.