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Title: Drought Seen Rivaling 1980s U.S. Scorcher That Cost $78 Billion
Source: Bloomberg
URL Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012- ... cher-that-cost-78-billion.html
Published: Jun 27, 2012
Author: Alan Bjerga
Post Date: 2012-06-27 11:50:17 by Brian S
Keywords: None
Views: 539

The drought in the U.S. Midwest that has pushed up corn prices 23 percent since June 15 may eventually rival a dry period in 1988 that cost agriculture $78 billion, a government meteorologist said.

This year’s weather pattern, which settled into the Great Plains and the Southwest last year and has spread into the Corn Belt, resembles those of a quarter century ago and several earlier eras, Matthew Rosencrans, a drought specialist with the National Weather Service, said today at a forum in Washington.

“We already have the dry conditions,” said Rosencrans, a contributor to the government’s weekly drought monitor. The drought that ran through 1987 and 1988 “will come up as one of the clearest analogues to this year.”

Fifty-six percent of the U.S. corn crop was in good-to- excellent condition as of June 24, down from 63 percent a week earlier and a 20-year low for this point in the season, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Futures of the grain traded in Chicago touched a nine-month high earlier today.

Areas of Indiana, Illinois, eastern Iowa and Missouri have had less than half of the normal rainfall in the past 30 days, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of the Midwest may see some significant showers by the middle of next week, while the driest areas of the Midwest and the Mississippi Delta region may see little precipitation, Telvent DTN Inc. said yesterday.

U.S. stockpiles of corn may have dropped 14 percent to 3.168 billion bushels as of June 1 from a year earlier, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts. The USDA will update its estimates for U.S. reserves and acreage on June 29.

Today’s forum was sponsored by the Oak Brook, Illinois- based Farm Foundation. Other speakers included Jay Armstrong, who grows corn, soybeans and wheat in Atchison County, Kansas; Kitty Smith, chief economist for American Farmland Trust; and David Anderson, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University.

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