We note concerns that continued drought might precipitate a repetition of the dreaded mid west dust bowl that laid waste to whole states. Livestock is under extreme stress and feed grain stocks are being used earlier than usual. These factors increase the probability of another disastrous year for cattle. The reader may recall how 2011 was also a very bad year for beef cattle with hay prices jumping to record highs as Midwest and western supplies failed due to drought. Cattle were slaughtered at record rates in 2011 with predictions that herds would therefore be much more difficult and expensive to replenish. A combination of heat stress on crops and animals may result in a multiplier effect where both are seriously diminished. Many farmers and ranchers might be financially destroyed if relief is not forthcoming. Jet stream behavior has profound influence in the distribution of precipitation all across the planet, but no one has yet proposed how humankind might bend that stratospheric river of air to its will. In the absence of rain agriculture, particular the family farms, may be dealt a death blow in some areas. Financial ruin is just as devastating as dust storms, and there will be no escape from the pain of this agricultural disaster.
LA Times: According to meteorologist Keeney, 56% of the country is experiencing drought conditions. And the timing of the heat wave couldn't have been much worse. "June, early July, that's when crops pollinate and mature," he said. "It's a critical time for moisture."
Steele agreed. The heat and drought have continued for so long, he said, that, locally, worry is growing over the water supply for livestock. "Very easily, ponds could be dry by the end of summer."
With grass dwindling, some livestock producers are starting to feed their animals hay, he said, which normally wouldn't occur until November or December. (read more)
Weather: The Dust Bowl all but dried up an already depressed American economy in the 1930's creating millions of dollars in damages. With modern technology, NASA now believes the Jet Stream was partly responsible for this drought. (read more)
Journal Star: If drought conditions continue, corn prices likely will rise more, said Chris Hurt, a Purdue Extension agronomist. "If we go above $6.75 or $6.80 (a bushel) on July futures, then I think we've got a real shot at retesting the all-time highs at around $8," Hurt said. (read more)
Water online: "The recent heat and dryness is catching up with us on a national scale," said Michael J. Hayes, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center. "Now, we have a larger section of the country in these lesser categories of drought than we've previously experienced in the history of the Drought Monitor." (read more)