The heat goes on

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Several reports this week helped illustrate the severity of the weather situation in the United States and its impact on agriculture. First, the National Climate Data Center declared 2012 as the warmest year on record for the continental United States. The same day, the USDA released its Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin, showing the persistence of drought across much of the country this winter.

In related news, USDA also announced the listing of 597 counties for disaster assistance due to drought, the first such listing for 2013 coming just one week into the new year.

December started out unusually warm, with record-high temperatures recorded from Texas through the upper Midwest early in the month. A cooling trend moved across much of the country bringing much-needed precipitation to in some areas, and according to preliminary data from the National Climatic Data Center, the contiguous U.S. experienced its 10th-warmest, 20th-wettest December on record. But while some areas received above-average precipitation during December, others, particularly across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and into Kansas saw less than half their normal precipitation for the month.

Within the USDA report, a drought outlook map from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration shows drought conditions likely to persist through March across most of the western two-thirds of the country. About 60 percent of the continental United States currently is under moderate drought or worse, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

As mentioned, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack earlier this week listed 597 counties as disaster areas due to drought. The designation will provide access to low-interest loans for farmers in affected counties. Many of the counties listed are in the Plains region, including 88 in Kansas, 76 in Oklahoma and 157 in Texas. Read more about the disaster-area listings from USDA.

Conditions in the Plains region have caused a decline in the hard red winter wheat crop. By December 30, the portion of the Plains wheat rated in very poor to poor condition included 61 percent in Oklahoma, 49 percent in Nebraska, and 31 percent in Kansas.

Further east, the soft red winter wheat crop is doing better according to the USDA report, and as of December 30, 70 percent of the crop in Illinois was rated good to excellent.

Although December brought cooler weather to parts of the country, the persistence of drought and generally mild conditions look eerily similar to a year ago, when a mild winter and early spring led to what became the warmest year on record in the United States. The average temperature for the continental United States during 2012 was 55.32 degrees Fahrenheit, topping the previous record from 1998 by a full degree according to the National Climate Data Center (NCDC). According to an Associated Press article, year-to-year differences are more typically measured in tenths of a degree, and breaking the record by a full degree is unprecedented.

The NCDC will release its data on global temperatures for 2012 next week, but through the first 11 months of the year, the world was on pace for the eighth warmest year on record. Read more about the long list of heat records that fell last year.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (1) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

January, 11, 2013 at 01:50 PM

Where's all this warm & dry weather? Here in the northeast it sure feels wet & cold. Heavy snow and hard winter.

Tube Series (TS) Conveyors

USC’s Tube Series Conveyors combine the gentleness of the signature Seed Series with the traditional stability of a tube-style conveyor, ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form