Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Implications of the Wheat Belt Drought

The world could, literally, be facing a bread shortage. 

[Update: 9p Wednesday: Hungary has banned grain exports. The only reason to do this is they expect a major shortage.]

This is yet another problem on the international horizon. The price of wheat has reached historic highs and yet many of our farmers may not be able to take advantage of it because they may not have much of a crop. 
It is even than you would think with Russian shipments interrupted and Ukrainian shipments halted.

While I don't much trust reports out of China, this is alarming. 

Keep in mind that winter wheat is planted in September and October and harvested during June and July. The following map is quite informative, click to enlarge. Kansas is, by far, the #1 winter wheat state. 

The problem is what the wheat belt = central Great Plains which is in a worsening drought. Below is a map of percentage of normal precipitation over the past 60 days. 

The two best extended range precipitation models to 15 days both show continued dryness in the winter wheat belt from March 18 to April 23. Browns are drier than average.

The models become quite mixed after about April 10 with some showing generous precipitation from then until the end of May. However, it is waits that long, it is likely the wheat harvest will be seriously lessened. The other models show less than normal rainfall which would result in a severe to extreme drought. 

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