The Drought Doldrums

It’s official; this year’s drought now ranks as the worst since the 1950’s, surpassing even the painful nationwide 1988 drought. Many corn farmers are now hoping for, best-case scenario, a lessened crop, and at worst, a 50% or worse yield. And, as many are aware, Congress’ so-far embarrassingly futile efforts to pass a Farm Bill seem to signal a lack of understanding for hard-hit farmers. Positive news has been hard to come by, to say the least. So when will the drought end? Now, the best adjective to describe long-term climatology reports is ‘unpredictable’, but a recent world model from Japan predicts that by September, much of the area under the most intense drought conditions will be receiving higher than average precipitation. Other models, however, continue the dry trend throughout the winter, and even the Japanese model says nothing as the rest of the summer, with the assumption that the drought will last at least that long.

As for the short-term, a chance exists for rainfall at and above Interstate 80 during the first part of this week. Unfortunately for farmers below I-80, temperatures there are predicted to hover around the triple digits for most of the week. With the news of possible rain, crop prices on the Chicago Board of Trade dropped from their all-time highs for corn and soybeans, providing some help for livestock farms, but that could all be temporary if the rain doesn’t occur. All in all, there is only one solution for this problem; rain. And rain doesn’t seem willing in coming at the moment.

The Japanese weather model