Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Drought likely to continue through planting season, threatening restocking of global food stores

If last summer's oppressive drought, which ravaged corn and soybean crops and spurred record crop prices, continues, it could threaten a rebuilding of global food stores, Luzi Javier of Bloomberg News reports. (Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker)

DTN/Progressive Farmer agricultural meteorologist Bryce Anderson told Javier that the drought will continue through the spring planting season "unless there's a sudden change to very wet conditions." The U.S. is the world's largest grower of corn and second largest grower of soybeans. The drought increased crop prices, which drove up food prices in foreign countries. Global supply concerns were just starting to ease, as corn most recently traded at 19 percent lower than August and soybeans at 20 percent lower. Still, "There's nothing in terms of changes in climate positions to suggest that the drought is going to be short-lived," Jim Dale, British Weather Services senior risk meteorologist, told Javier.

The Palmer drought index, which measures rain and temperatures in relation to drought, fell to minus 4 in July. Anderson said when the index has previously reached this level, it took one to four years for soil moisture to recover. Last year was also the warmest ever recorded, with drought covering almost 62 percent of the U.S. This extreme drought caused many large corn- and soybean-growing states to lose the majority of their topsoil moisture. (Read more)

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