64 million bushels of wheat could be lost to drought in U.S.

July 28, 2017

Bad news for farmers this week in the central and northern regions of the U.S. An ongoing drought in the northern plains is expected to persist into August, while heavy, flood-inducing rains in the central U.S. are expected to continue as well.

Much of the northern plains regions are experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought levels according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s U.S. Drought Monitor. Numerous counties in three states have been declared disaster areas.

Accuweather notes that farmers in the affected areas have tough decisions to make: till the wheat and take the insurance loss, or try to salvage what can be saved of their crop. Federal officials fear that the drought could cost as many as 64 million bushels of wheat this year.

Due to the dry conditions, wheat yields are down to the lowest numbers in years. The Progressive Farmer reports that the 2017 Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour ended with a total weighted average yield of 38.4 bushels per acre, a significant drop from last year. The yield is the lowest since 2008. Other fields received similarly lowered numbers. For a detailed look at the scores, check out the publication’s online article.

Ranchers are also struggling with the drought. Haying and grazing on land meant for conservation has been approved to help alleviate the situation. One Montana auctioneer said that that around a thousand cattle were brought to auction in early July, when normally only a few hundred would make an appearance.

With typical temperatures reaching up to 8°F above usual temperatures in the region, excessive heat has made this drought the worst one in the country, especially in the states of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The small town of Nashua, Montana has only recorded 1.2 inches of rain since April.

Officials hope that rain can return later in August, in time for soybeans, though it may be too late for corn to see much success.

On the other hand, excessive rainfall farther east is causing another batch of problems. Soybean ratings have declined in the Midwest due to wet conditions, with soil moisture facing a surplus in some areas.

For more information about ongoing crop conditions, check out Neogen’s weekly Monday Mycotoxin and Crop Reports, which also include special reports and technical tips from industry leaders. Click here for the playlist, and click here to subscribe to our email list.

Category: Agriculture, Milling & Grain