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Posts Tagged ‘Wheat’

Drought and wildfire threaten America’s cattle capital

July 21, 2011 1 comment

csmonitor

* A mother and her calf idle in dead grassland on the Swenson Ranch outside Stamford, Texas, in this photo from May 21. Severe drought and millions of acres of wildfires have delivered a potent one-two punch this year, forcing tough decisions on ranchers across cattle country. Elliott Blackburn / Reuters /. File

Chicago-As if the heartland hasn’t faced enough this summer, with wildfires, droughts, and punishing heat, cattle ranchers are now facing a hay shortage.

The triple-digit temperatures, expected to result in the worst drought north-central Texas has ever experienced, follows spring wildfires, which scorched millions of acres that traditionally nourish the nation’s largest steer population – five million head of cattle.

Most Texas pasture and range lands – 86 percent – are currently “poor” or “very poor,” according to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The same rating applied to 69 percent of Oklahoma and 40 percent of Kansas.

The hardships this year “don’t compare to any in recent years,” says Jason Miller, a county agriculture agent for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service (TALES). “The ranchers are just holding on.”

July temperatures have topped 110 degrees in the heart of cattle country, from Texas to Kansas. Ranchers complain that Read more…

China drought ignites global grain supply concerns

May 26, 2011 Comments off

reuters

A prolonged drought in China could hit grains output in key growing regions, further squeezing global supplies and putting upward pressure on prices, but plentiful domestic wheat stocks will act as a cushion and keep import volumes low.

Analysts are closely watching the weather in China, warning any further supply shocks in the grain markets would fuel a further rally in U.S. corn and wheat futures, already stoked by harsh crop weather in the United States and Europe.

“Parts of China have been too dry and if we did see crop failures in that part of the world they are going to look to the global market for supplies,” said Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist with Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

“They are going to be looking to North America and Europe and there is significant amount of concern whether those particular countries will be able to satisfy those needs.”

Chicago Board of Trade corn has climbed 80 percent since the start of May last year, while wheat has risen around 50 percent. Last week alone corn and wheat jumped more than 10 percent on expectations of a global squeeze in supplies.

CROP CONCERNS & TIGHT GLOBAL SUPPLIES

Timely corn seeding is crucial for optimal yields needed to replenish U.S. supplies that are projected at the lowest level in 15 years amid strong demand from livestock feeders, ethanol makers and exporters.

About 80 percent of the U.S. corn crop has been planted, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department, but showers this week are expected to bring the final corn seedings to Read more…

Alarming Number of Disasters Striking World “Food Baskets”

May 18, 2011 Comments off

Millennium-Ark
May 16, 2011
Holly Deyo

Dear Friends and Readers of Millennium-Ark,

For the last 5 years, we have posted countless articles covering both natural disasters and their impact on our food supplies as well as on many other timely topics. After several decades of monitoring these events, it’s hard to convey how shocked we are by the sheer number of disasters that have occurred just in the first 4 months of 2011.

Yesterday, all day, I spent analyzing natural disasters and plotted them against our food belts. Never, ever, have I seen so many federally declared disasters this early in the year.

The DHS/FEMA maps were defined by 2 colors: blue signified no disasters (to distinguish the disaster-free areas from water, they are shown in white below) and yellow indicated declared disasters. Map after map, state after state were mostly yellow. Surely this must be an error? Thinking through the numerous news items on Earth Changes, with sinking feeling, I knew they were correct. It was only when the state information was transferred to a single national map, the implications become uncomfortably clear.

Notice how many disasters have occurred in food-producing areas. They are striking the heart of our food growing regions. Many food crops have been wiped out by drought, flood, hail and freezes. These food destroyers are occurring in greater frequency and having larger impact. America’s food belts are taking mighty hits. Some growing areas will not recover this entire year.

Deutsche Bank Sees Gold Surging as High as $2,000 as Soros Pares His Bets

May 10, 2011 1 comment

bloomberg

Deutsche Bank Sees Gold Surging to $2,000, Soros Pares Bets

Investors including George Soros and John Paulson invested in gold as the metal surged over the past year amid a sovereign debt crisis in Europe, economic turmoil in the U.S. and civil unrest in the Middle East. Photographer: Junko Kimura/Bloomberg

May 10 (Bloomberg) — Michael Yoshikami, who oversees $1.1 billion as chief investment strategist at YCMNet Advisors in Walnut Creek, California, talks about global stocks and commodities. Yoshikami also discusses bonds, the U.S. economy, and BYD Co.’s plan to list shares on the Shenzhen exchange. He speaks from Singapore with John Dawson on Bloomberg Television’s “First Up.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Gold, which reached a record on May 2, may surge a further 30 percent by January as investors seek to protect themselves from “economic uncertainty,” according to Deutsche Bank AG.

“I’m bullish on gold despite its current levels,” Hal Lehr, Deutsche Bank’s managing director for cross-commodity trading, said in an interview in Buenos Aires. “It could reach $2,000 an ounce in the next eight months.”

Investors including George Soros and John Paulson invested in gold as the metal surged over the past year amid a sovereign debt Read more…

Grains Wilt in Dry Europe as England Posts Its Hottest April in 352 Years

May 4, 2011 Comments off

bloomberg

Europe Grains Wilt as England Has Hottest April in 352 Years

Dry, warm weather in Europe may reduce global wheat stockpiles already expected to fall 7.6 percent in the year that ends on May 31, the biggest decline since 2007. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Dry weather in France and Germany and England’s hottest April in at least 352 years are threatening crops across the European Union, producer of a fifth of the world’s wheat.

About 20 percent of average rain fell in the U.K. in April after a dry March, further reducing soil moisture, the Home- Grown Cereals Authority, an industry group, said in an e-mailed report. European wheat and rapeseed crops are “in jeopardy” after an “incredibly dry” April, according to agricultural weather forecaster Martell Crop Projections.

Dry, warm weather in Europe may reduce global wheat stockpiles already expected to fall 7.6 percent in the year that ends on May 31, the biggest decline since 2007. Food prices reached a record in February, driving 44 million people into poverty, and wheat consumption may rise to an all-time high this year. The world “cannot afford” for Europe’s crop to be diminished, Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, said last month.

“The world needs a bumper crop in all grains from the U.S. and from Europe and from Canada or we are in trouble,” Dennis Gartman, an economist and author of The Gartman Letter, said today by e-mail. “The winter wheat crop here is in trouble, and the spring wheat crop in the Dakotas and the Canadian prairies may be very badly delayed and therefore in Read more…

Missouri levee blast inundates acres of farmland

May 4, 2011 Comments off

The Army Corps of Engineers blew a two-mile hole into the Birds Point levee, which has flooded 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri's Mississippi County, in an effort to protect nearby Cairo, Ill., from rising floodwaters.

The Army Corps of Engineers blew a two-mile hole into the Birds Point levee, which has flooded 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri’s Mississippi County, in an effort to protect nearby Cairo, Ill., from rising floodwaters.

But farmers who pleaded unsuccessfully for the Supreme Court to stop the blast, which diverted floodwaters and inundated their land, had 130,000 acres of severely damaged farmland and close to $100 million in crop losses, a farmers’ association said. About 100 homes are in the deluged area, according to Army engineers.

The purpose was to divert floodwaters from Cairo, a town of about 3,000.

The government engineers blasted the first hole into the Birds Point levee site at Sikeston, Mo., at about 10 p.m. Monday and the second one at around noon Tuesday, said Lisa Coghlan, spokeswoman for the Army engineers in Sikeston.

Flood stage for the Mississippi River in the area is normally 40 feet, but on Monday, the water was at 61.72 feet, the engineers said. By Tuesday, after the two blasts, the water was receding and had fallen to 60.12 feet, the engineers said.

“It was definitely a success,” Coghlan said. The engineers planned to stage one more blast, probably today, depending on how quickly they could move equipment through the rain-soaked area, Coghlan said.

“The ground is absolutely just mush,” she explained. “It’s been raining for two weeks and today is actually the first sunny day.” Read more…

Texas Drought worst since 1895

May 2, 2011 7 comments

timesrecordnews

The drought in Texas, during March, was the worst since 1895.

That is about the time my parents were born 120 years ago.

I never thought it could be worse than the drought of the 1950s, but it is. Drive out into grazing country where mesquite aren’t too thick and all you can see is dry, cracked soil with an occasional fire ant or a gopher mound in the sandier soil.

Comparing the current drought with the seven-year drought in the 1950s, old-timers say the current drought sapped the soil of moisture faster than it did in the 1950s.

It just stopped raining last July, and pasture after pasture was hit by wildfires.

Right now, there is no potential to produce hay, harvest wheat or plant cotton or grain sorghum this May. Unless there is a week of rain fairly soon there is no hope for agriculture this year.

The Texas Ag Extension Service says that, despite a few recent showers in some areas, the cotton growing in Texas and Oklahoma is still in a drought. Any crop planted in southern Texas earlier in the year that got up out of the ground is now being sand blasted by hot, dry winds.

Wildfires have burned at least 1.5 million acres in the state since Jan. 1.

In addition to grazing losses, ranchers are facing rangeland stock water tanks that are dry or nearly dry. Streams are not flowing and lakes and big tanks are turning to deep mud.