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Drought Predictions Worry Farmers

Drought Predictions Worry Farmers

In South Dakota, there’s an old saying that goes, “If you don’t like the weather now, just wait five minutes -- it will change.” While the state is known for its extremes, the weather has been consistently mild this year -- with little rain or snowfall since the spring of 2011. While calving season has been great, with limited challenges from cold temperatures or muddy conditions, there are growing concerns that a widespread drought could impact summer grazing and the 2012 harvest.

With an unseasonably warm spring, many are planting early this year, but the weatherman is predicting freezing temperatures again this week, which could prove troublesome for the eager beavers with spring plants already shooting up in the fields.

Meanwhile, others are just hoping for a spring rain to get the crops going, while many ranchers are scrambling for additional pastureland to ensure enough grass for summer grazing.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “The U.S. Climate Prediction Center raised the prospect that El Nino conditions could return after the Northern Hemisphere summer, causing adverse weather that could potentially disrupt the harvest of vital crops such as cotton, corn and soybeans. It would have the biggest impact on corn. U.S. farmers are expected to plant the most corn in 75 years to ease extremely tight supplies that have kept prices near historic highs.

“While La Nina fades, drier-than-average conditions are more likely across Utah and Colorado and along the western Gulf of Mexico. La Nina was blamed for last year's drought in Texas, the biggest cotton growing state in the country, which was the worst drought in a century.”


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