News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Business

February 18, 2013

Indiana among Top 10 hardest-hit states for crop damage

The searing U.S. drought of 2012 devastated the nation’s corn crop, pushing yields down in some states to their lowest levels in nearly 30 years. According to recently-released numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana were among the Top 10 hardest hit Corn Belt states, with yields at 28-, 26-, and 22-year lows, respectively.

Missouri was hit particularly hard, with corn yields down 42 percent below its 2002-2011 average and Iowa, Kansas and Kentucky were also devastated, with yields at 20-year lows. In Illinois and Indiana, yields were down by more than a third. Kentucky, not a major corn producing state, had the largest overall corn crop failure, with more than a 50 percent reduction in yield, compared to its 2002-2011 average.

In Colorado and Nebraska, where most corn crops are irrigated, far fewer acres of planted corn were even harvested in 2012. In Colorado, only 70 percent of crops were harvested, compared to an average of 85 percent between 2002-2011, and in Nebraska the harvest was down about 7 percent from the 2002-2011 average. In most other states, where crops depend on rain rather than irrigation, the harvest remained high, even as yields declined substantially.

On Friday, the USDA is expected to announce the final crop values for 2012. Even though last year’s drought touched more than 80 percent of U.S. agricultural land, at first glance those figures may not reflect the full extent of crop damage. That’s because the dwindling crop yields drove up prices of corn, soybeans and sorghum in the second half of 2012.

Overall, crop-related farm income was not down substantially in 2012, despite the severe drought. The unusually high crop prices and record insurance payouts — at least $14 billion in government aid has already been doled out — helped offset drought-related profit losses.

Bloomberg News recently reported that farmers are likely to see lower profits in 2013, even if the drought becomes less severe or disappears completely later this year because corn prices will be lower than last year and fewer farmers will qualify for insurance.

Climate change increases the odds of hotter, drier droughts

The second week of February marked the 34th consecutive week in which more than half the land area in the contiguous U.S. has been engulfed by drought, and the 33rd consecutive week in which more than 10 percent of that area was under “extreme drought,” or worse. As this historic drought rolls on through a dry winter, the chances of recovery rest increasingly on a far wetter-than-average spring.

The drought was most likely initially set into motion by the cooler-than-average water temperatures of La Nina in the tropical Pacific Ocean, which influences weather patterns across the continent. But some scientists suggest that the overall warmer climate created by manmade global warming may have amplified this already devastating drought, particularly by triggering more intense heat during the spring and summer of 2012.

A recently released draft of a new federal climate change assessment shows that as the climate continues to warm in the next few decades, drought events are likely to become more frequent and severe, leading to more significant water supply and agricultural impacts in much of the U.S.

Soybeans, the country’s second biggest crop — in both acres and sales — was also hit hard in some states. Kansas saw the most damage, where the average yield was nearly 30 percent lower than in recent years. Nationally, soybean yields were only 5 percent below normal, but Iowa, the biggest soybean producer in the country, had its second-lowest yield in a decade.

Large portions of sorghum crops were also ruined by the drought, particularly in Kansas, the country’s top sorghum producer (harvested sorghum grain is primarily used as animal feed). Throughout June, July and August, the entire state was in drought (with as much as 90 percent in severe drought) and sorghum yields were about 50 percent lower than recent years. Nationally, sorghum yields averaged about 20 percent below normal.

Reporting for this story was contributed by Urooj Raja.

Related Content Ongoing Coverage of Historic Drought in U.S.Good News, Bad News Continues for Drought Across U.S.Lack of Warning on Drought Reflects Forecasting FlawsLow Snowfall Raises Concerns About Drought RecoveryUSDA Declares Winter Wheat Belt Drought Disaster AreaExtreme Weather 101: Drought & Our Changing Climate


 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Today in History for April 18th Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Author Gabriel Garcia Marquez Dead at 87 Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine Horseless Carriage Introduced at NY Auto Show Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes
NDN Video
My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN Elizabeth Olsen's Sexy Shoot Bay Area Teen Gets Prom Date With Help From 'Breaking Bad' Star
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity