"Going into the cataclysms the weather will become unpredictable, with torrential rainstorms where not expected, and droughts likewise where not expected. Extremes of temperature will be experienced. Unusually warm winters, where the trees and shrubs will start to bud, thinking spring, and then be subjected to frost. Similarly, frosts will come late in the spring, almost into summer, killing the buds which have already put forth their tender shoots."  ZetaTalk - Crop Failure

This grim forecast from 1995 has become a reality.  In just the past 7 days, the following reports demonstrate the accuracy of yet another Zeta prediction heralding the return of Planet X.

April 19
Early Budding, Then Cold Snap, Takes Toll on Iowa Vineyards

Richard Black, of Farnhamville, shows the dead grape shoots that followed last week’s three nights of freezing temperatures. Black said the damage is “severe” and estimates at least 75 percent of his crop was ruined.

April 18
Hailstorms Annihilate California Fruit Crops

"I estimate the damage at anywhere from 80 percent to 100 percent in fields and orchards where the hail struck. The fruit and nut trees were stripped bare. The trees look like they are in midwinter and haven't even budded yet."

April 18

Wisconsin Cherry Growers Expect 50 Percent Loss From Frost Damage

"I've been doing this pretty much all my life. It's been here 130 years in the family, so I'm the fourth generation, so it's our livelihood," he says.  Robertson says he's been worrying about his trees, which he expects will produce about half the cherries they normally do this year. 

April 16
Cold Causes Devastating Loss for Michigan Grape Crop

Southwestern Michigan grape growers are reeling from last week’s freezing temperatures that seem to have wiped out the majority of this season’s grape crop.  “This is the worst situation we’ve had. ... This is devastating for southwest Michigan growers,"

April 14
Minnesota Apple Crop Crippled by Early Warmth Then Freeze

"It's essentially almost a total crop loss this year," said apple farmer Mike Perbix. Perbix owns Sweetland Orchard in Webster. He says he has lost more than 90 percent of his apple crop.

April 13
Huge Crop Losses in Portugal Due to Frost and Drought

Recent early morning frosts and the ongoing drought, have led to an almost total loss of production in a number of fruit and vegetable farms across the Algarve.

April 12
Frosts Damages Up to 90 Percent of Indiana Blueberry Crops

The overnight lows left some blueberry farms with plenty of damage during a season that had been expected to be the best in years. Some farms saw up to 90 percent damage to their crops.

Freeze Causes Widespread Damage to North Carolina Fruit

Cold temperatures Wednesday night caused widespread damage to fruit crops across Henderson County.  Apple trees bloomed two weeks early as a result of the mild winter, and that left them vulnerable to cold temperatures.



April 19
Early Budding, Then Cold Snap, Takes Toll on Iowa Vineyards

FARNHAMVILLE - Richard Black said he knew the killing frost was possible, even to be expected, but some part of him was hoping it wouldn't happen.  But it did.

Last week, with the first primary grape buds out and a month ahead of schedule, temperatures dipped at official measuring sites to 29 degrees and to 24 degrees on Tuesday. Twenty-eight degrees for four hours is considered a hard frost in farming terms.

But according to Black, his thermometer read 17 degrees overnight on Monday, 16 degrees overnight Tuesday and and in the 20s overnight Wednesday. That was enough, he said, to cause significant yield losses to his grapes, especially his early budding varieties.

"It was bad," Black said, who manages 1,600 grape vines in a 3-acre site around his rural Farnhamville home. "It was devastating."

When told that Mike White, Iowa State University's viticulturist, estimated the statewide grape yield loss at 50 percent, Black said, "That would be good news. But Mike is looking at the entire state."

According to White, vineyards north of I-80 were frost-bit more severely than those in southern Iowa counties.

Some growers attempted to keep heat among their vines, or continually spray water on their vines, and some tried spraying liquid potassium, which acts like an antifreeze to protect the buds during the freezing period, White said.

Black didn't try any of those measures.

"There's not a whole lot you can do," Black said. "Most efforts are not effective.

"The most you can do is give the vulnerable buds a 3- to 5-degree protection."

Once the temperature slips to below 25 degrees, all bets are off.

"And it's not like flowers; you can't just throw a blanket over them," Black said. "And we're not the only ones; the same happened to orchards too."

He said the primary buds of Marquette varieties were out to 3 inches long on Sunday. They looked green and lush. Some of the secondary buds were out, as well.

White and Black both said frost damage varies by cultivar and location. Early budbreak varieties, including Marquette, and low-lying areas normally receive the worst damage.

Black said before the frost, "It would be easy for someone to get overly optimistic. You look at the (vines) and think here's a chance to do a really good job by the book all season long.

"And well, here we are ..."

Black fully expects to see a 75 percent yield loss on his grapes.

"But we'll be able to tell better in about two weeks," he said.

He hires three workers throughout the growing season to tend his vineyard. Are they out of work now?

Not at all, Black said. Half of all the work on vine husbandry is for the current crop and half is for the next year's crop.

"The crop is gone," he said, "but we still have to do everything as if it's otherwise, only there's no income coming in."

Crop insurance on grapes? Forget about it, Black said.

"There is insurance, but you can't afford it," he said. The reason is that, unlike corn and soybeans, the sheer numbers of growers are not sufficient to share the risk, so insurance rates are high on grapes.

According to White, there are only 300 Iowa vineyards, cultivating grapes on 1,200 acres statewide.

"This frost did not kill any vines," White said. "It only set us back. The industry will continue to grow."

Disappointed about the frost damage and the lost yields, Black said he tries not to get too down. "I'm not the only one this happened to."

Ajay Nair, an ISU Extension vegetable specialist, said he noticed damage to fruit blossoms at the Horticulture Research Station near Gilbert after the April 10 frost and temperatures were even colder April 11.

Paul Domoto, an ISU Extension fruit specialist, said the temperature dipped to 20 degrees at the horticultural station, a temperature that damages plants, but especially those near the ground, like strawberries. Strawberries are most vulnerable at bloom, however, only the earliest cultivars have reached this stage of development.

The problem with the fruit crops is that the early spring weather sped up blooming, which is a particularly sensitive stage for the plants. Domoto said although there has been damage it's too early to say how bad the freezes were until growers can assess the conditions in their areas, because site conditions and stage of bud and/or shoot development will have a significant influence on the extent of injury.

Nick Howell, superintendent of the Horticultural Research Station, doesn't expect much of an apple crop because of the freezes. He confirmed there was "significant damage" to the station's vineyard and strawberries. Apple trees typically are "in jeopardy" until the middle of May, he said.

Unfortunately, Howell said the expense of pest management in the apple orchard must be maintained even though there are few, if any, apples produced.

April 18
Hailstorms Annihilate California Fruit Crops

A series of freak April storms hammered the San Joaquin Valley last week, damaging vulnerable crops with a one-two-three punch of hail, lightning and tornados that caused millions of dollars of crop losses.

It will be several weeks before an accurate tabulation of losses can be made, but for some growers it amounted to 100 percent of this year's production. A number of crops suffered damage from the unrelenting power of hailstones measuring 1.5 inches in diameter or larger.

Nature's fury came in the form of "supercells"—large thunderstorms that moved slowly across the valley from Kings County, through parts of Tulare County, up to Merced County and all the way eastward to Mariposa County.

The most destructive storm brought torrents of hail across a six-to-eight mile-wide swath of farmland that extended some 30 miles, accompanied by thunderstorms and numerous lightning strikes.

The epicenter of the more significant of two supercells last Wednesday was in Tulare County near Traver. Grower Ed Needham, who was caught driving near Traver when the storm struck, described it as "the sound of someone hitting my truck with a hammer."

Needham said he was in his truck with two other farmers and had pulled over to watch a huge storm cell to the south when the other cell struck from the north.

"It started out small and was no big deal and then all of a sudden the side-view mirrors on my truck shattered and the road started getting covered with huge hailstones. I looked at the wind and saw that it was going south, so I took off and went to the south and got out of it," he said.

Steve Johnson, a storm chaser with Atmospheric Group International, tracked the storms closely and estimated that the damage to agriculture could reach $25 million or more just from the two supercells that hit last Wednesday afternoon.

"While other thunderstorms were moving at about 25 miles per hour, these two slugs were moving at about 7 or 8 miles an hour, so they just trudged along producing very large hail and a high quantity of lightning," he said. "I estimate the damage at anywhere from 80 percent to 100 percent in fields and orchards where the hail struck. The fruit and nut trees were stripped bare. The trees look like they are in midwinter and haven't even budded yet."

Johnson also reported that a third supercell formed over farmland west of Lemoore, producing a tornado, and another one popped up near Huron, causing considerable crop damage to Westside lettuce and tomato fields.

The following day, a supercell formed in Merced County near Dos Palos and moved northeast between Atwater and Merced, once again accompanied by huge hailstones.

"The hailstones were larger than those on the previous day. There was 1 3/4-inch hail that was recorded near Castle Air Force Base, causing a lot of crop damage as well as other damage before moving up into Mariposa County," Johnson said.

John Diepersloot, one of the owners of Kingsburg Orchards, which grows peaches, plums, nectarines and apricots, said the storms wiped out some orchards while leaving adjacent ones unscathed. He said several of his orchards were struck and that while the visible damage is obvious, it will be several days before any accurate assessment can be made.

"Where the hail hit, it is a complete, 100 percent loss. It was hitting in cells, so one area was a complete disaster and another area got missed," he said. "Some of the fields look like they got beat up pretty bad. Most of the apricots, cherries, pluots and plums got scratched up pretty bad or even knocked off the trees."

Diepersloot also noted damage to other crops, particularly grapes and newly transplanted processing tomatoes.

"The tomatoes on certain blocks were stripped down. The transplants had leaves ripped off. The grapes had everything from tender, new shoots to the bark itself torn off. A lot of guys are planting their corn, but it isn't up yet, so that is still in the ground," he said.

John Thiesen, general manager of Giumarra Brothers Fruit Co. of Reedley, said he is still trying to assess the losses, and that enough fruit to fill from 5 million to 12 million boxes may have been lost.

"That is a pretty big span, so no one really knows for sure. But we do know there is very significant damage," he said.

Thiesen said the magnitude of last week's hailstorms was stunning.

"One doesn't see this kind of devastation very often. I know for us here, we were fortunate to escape, but the emotions are such that we feel just awful for all our grower friends who were affected. It is heartbreaking," he said.

Michael Miya, who farms walnuts, pistachios and field crops such as wheat, corn and onions for seed north of Hanford, said this was the worst hailstorm he has ever witnessed.

"We inspected the damage to our walnuts and it chopped a lot of the young leaflets. It covered the ground in green where the hail went through. We are concerned with the nuts that are already set on the trees," he said. "Some of my neighbors with almonds say they lost about a third of their crop, some less and some more, depending on where they were located. One of my neighbors with cherries said he has probably lost 80 percent of his crop."

Johnson, a severe-weather specialist who provides private weather forecasting for farming operations, utility companies and irrigation districts in the San Joaquin Valley, said it has been at least 20 years since something this severe struck the region.

"I feel really bad for the farmers who have been annihilated, because they work very hard," he said.

April 18
Wisconsin Cherry Growers Expect 50 Percent Loss From Frost Damage

For many, Door County cherries are a Northeast Wisconsin tradition.

But for Kris Robertson, the owner of Robertson Orchards, they're so much more than just that.

"I've been doing this pretty much all my life. It's been here 130 years in the family, so I'm the fourth generation, so it's our livelihood," he says.

Robertson says he's been worrying about his trees, which he expects will produce about half the cherries they normally do this year.

That's because our unusually warm March caused the buds to start developing about a month early. And now with the chilly weather and overnight freezes, some are already damaged.

"Oh yeah, there's a lot of blossoms I open up. The pistils are black, which shows that they should be dead so they're not going to bloom," says Robertson.

UW-Madison agricultural researcher Matt Stasiak says this a common problem for Door County cherry growers this season.

He conducted a sample study a few weeks ago.

"We looked at, as we do every winter, a number of buds and we were seeing a fair amount of damage, the average was about 70- to 75 percent of flower buds were damaged," says Stasiak.

Stasiak says we won't see the full impact of this inclement weather until harvest in June.

In the meantime, cherry growers like Kris Robertson will be getting a lot less sleep.

"Oh, it keeps you up at night worrying, but there's nothing you can do. You just have to hope that the weather changes and you get some crop out of it," says Robertson.

April 16
Cold Strangles Southwest Michigan Grape Crop - Loss Called 'Devasta...

It’s not sour grapes, it’s fact: Southwestern Michigan grape growers are reeling from last week’s freezing temperatures that seem to have wiped out the majority of this season’s grape crop.

Although fruit growers in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties are still assessing the damage, it appears that virtually the entire grape crop grown for Welch's Foods in southwest Michigan has been lost.

Unusually high temperatures at an unusually early time made the plants bud early, making them susceptible to temperatures that dipped into the 20s.

John Jasper, area manager with the National Grape Cooperative Association, which owns Welch's, oversees 250 farmers and 12,000 acres. Of those farmers, he said, more than 90 percent of their primary buds died.

There’s a “glimmer of hope” for some secondary growth to push out a little later but as Jasper pointed out, for most farmers that’s not going to pay the bills or perhaps even make it economical to harvest the few grapes that are left.

“This is the worst situation we’ve had. ... This is devastating for southwest Michigan growers," he said.

According to Jasper, Welch's gets about 17 percent of its grapes from the area, perhaps prompting the company to change recipes for some of its products.

At Bixby Orchards in Berrien Springs, Patricia Bixby said the damage was similar to a 1997 hailstorm that also wiped out the farm’s grape crop. Cherries, she said, “don’t look too bad,’’ adding strawberries will be OK thanks to irrigation that insulated them against the 29-degree cold.

As for apples, she said, she and her husband Paul might lose 75 percent of their crop.

'You just go on,' she said.

The news was better at the Lemon Creek Winery where Jeff Lemon, a business partner and wine maker, said 140 acres of wine grapes offer enough varieties, and in such a wide range of development, that all won’t be lost.

“Some of the buds were still pretty tight. Those came through a little better,’’ he said.

The farm also features peaches, apples and cherries, with apples taking the biggest hit of the three, he said.

At Round Barn Winery in Baroda, wine maker Matt Moersch said he expects some of the younger varieties of grapes will have a 40 to 60 percent loss but older varieties may lose just 10 percent. Retails prices for the winery’s wines shouldn’t be affected this year but could go up in 2013, although not dramatically, he said.

At the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, Herb Teichman said the few grapes he grows for personal use are “in good shape’’ but some varieties of apple trees didn’t fare as well.

“With some (apples), there was very little (damage) but some others were quite serious,’’ he said.

Tart cherries also had some damage but Teichman said he’ll still have a crop to harvest.

“It’s a reduction but not a wipeout by any means,’’ he said.

Federal government relief could be forthcoming for some grape growers, most likely in the form of low-interest loans. U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, is on record stating grape growers deserve relief.

The apple crop at Kercher's Sunrise Orchards in Goshen was also heavily damaged, the owner said Sunday.

April 14
Minnesota Apple Crop Crippled by Early Warmth Then Freeze

"It's essentially almost a total crop loss this year," said apple farmer Mike Perbix. Perbix owns Sweetland Orchard in Webster. He says he has lost more than 90 percent of his apple crop.

The reason is two-fold.

The warm weather we saw recently back caused many of his apple flowers to bloom. But then this week's freeze left them uncovered and unprotected. "You open it up and all you see is black right in there. And you can tell that's not going to produce anything viable," said Perbix when he opened up a flower bud.

That brings us to the consumer side of this story.

What does it mean for those who like to eat an apple a day? The short answer: it is still too early to tell.

"Our producers, they're really just beginning to understand what happened to them," said Gary Johnson with Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville.

There are two ways consumers may be affected if this wacky weather continues.

First, experts believe there is a good chance the local selection will not be as good. "So what they might find is more apples are coming from out state. You may see more apples come in from Washington for example," he said.

The second way this year's apple crop may bite consumers is at the checkout counter. Prices may go up. However, at Valley Natural Foods, their apple producer has not seen a problem with its crop yet. "They're going to provide apples to their whole sale partners at last year's prices," said Johnson.

David Bedford is a researcher and apple breeder with the University of Minnesota. He says he has never seen the apple crop start so early in his 32 years of breeding. "It's very unusual," he said. "But we're not in disaster mode yet."

He says most crops only need about 15 percent of the flowers to produce a healthy amount of apples. Typically, apple flowers come out of dormancy around May 15; this year it is at least a month early.

"We should know more in three weeks," he said of the extent of the apple crop damage.

Back at the orchard in Webster, Perbix knows where he stands. His apple money is all but gone for this year, thankful his wife is not in the family business. "The best insurance policy is that my wife works off the farm," he said.

April 13
Huge Crop Losses in Portugal Due to Frost and Drought

Recent early morning frosts and the ongoing drought, have led to an almost total loss of production in a number of fruit and vegetable farms across the Algarve.

The Association of Farmers of Faro and Surrounding Councils, which represents the majority of fruit and vegetable producers in the region, has said it is unhappy with government measures announced on Monday, adding that some of its members are on the verge of bankruptcy and despair.

The drought impact is confirmed by an official report dated March 13th, which states a 50% loss of greenhouse vegetables in the Algarve - especially in Faro and Olhão.

The report highlights the losses caused by frosts in the greenhouses to tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans and melon. in addition it says that open air crops such as broad beans, peas and potatoes have been affected. In relation to citrus fruit, the report says that the fall in production is "significant."

"I have lost 80 percent of my tomato plantation, which corresponds to a total loss because no one is going to water and pick the remaining 20 percent," said 44- year-old Paulo Cristina, who has six hectares of greenhouses on the outskirts of Faro.

With 120 tonnes of tomatoes lost, and with the selling price of tomatoes at 45 cents per kilogram, he calculates that he has lost €54,000, corresponding to half a year’s work.

Mr. Cristina awaits EU funds that have been promised by the Ministry of Agriculture, but says he is angry about the lack of available insurance to cover such events.

Similarly, the President of the Regional Agricultural Association, Ana Lopes, laments that insurance companies don’t provide policies adapted to each region, as "each area of the country is unique and has its own agriculture."

April 12
Frosts Damages Up to 90 Percent of Indiana Blueberry Crops

The overnight lows left some blueberry farms with plenty of damage during a season that had been expected to be the best in years. Some farms saw up to 90 percent damage to their crops.

Local farmers said the combination of warm winter months with the recent frosts was too much for certain varieties of blueberry bushes to handle.

“The real situation was a month ago when we had that beautiful weather, when everyone was just so happy,” Pick-N-Patch owner Sam Erwin said. “I’m going this is horrible weather. It brought all the fruit out early. “

The more advanced the blueberries are, the more that is at stake when a freeze warning goes into effect.

“Some of the earlier varieties were hurt a lot more,” Erwin said. “We have some that were almost 100 percent lost.”

April 12
Freezing Temps Causes Widespread Damage to Fruit Crops in North Car...

Cold temperatures Wednesday night caused widespread damage to fruit crops across Henderson County, according to Marvin Owings, county extension director.

"And we still have tonight," Owings said Thursday, referring to a freeze watch in effect through today's predawn hours. It will be a few days before growers can assess the extent of the damage to their crops, he added. "It is almost impossible to determine how bad it is the day after a freeze," Owings said.

Temperatures Wednesday night and Thursday morning fell to between 25 and 28 degrees in some areas. Temperatures 28 degrees and below can impair the fruits' growth cycle, Owings said.

Apple trees bloomed two weeks early as a result of the mild winter, and that left them vulnerable to cold temperatures.

"They are in full bloom, and that is the most critical stage of development," Owings said.

Farmers will check today to see whether Thursday night's temperatures caused more damage. The National Weather Service was forecasting a low around 32 degrees.

Henderson County grower Kenny Barnwell said Thursday that frost had ravaged his 10 acres of peach trees in Edneyville. "They were hurt pretty bad," Barnwell said. "I saw a lot of dead peaches."

His apple crop also was affected.

"A couple varieties (of apples) were severely damaged," Barnwell said.

Peach and strawberry growers in Upstate South Carolina reported that their crops had not been affected by the cool overnight temperatures, and some farms in Henderson County were spared.

"So far (the peach crops) are OK because the peaches' blooms have come and gone on most varieties," Danny McConnell said.

On Thursday, McConnell said it was too soon to tell whether the cold had impacted his apple trees in Dana, but he expected them to be fine.

It takes about 24 hours after a cold night to notice any damage to the apple blossoms, McConnell said.

Local strawberry growers said they were taking precautions to protect the soft fruits.

J.D. Obermiller had a long night Wednesday as temperatures dipped into the upper 20s at his strawberry farm in Horse Shoe.

He started the irrigation system at 2 a.m. to protect his crop, and by 10 a.m. Thursday, the last bit of ice melted off the strawberries.

"The berries look good," Obermiller said. "The blooms look bright and shiny."

McConnell kept his strawberries covered with plastic to protect them from freezing temperatures, but he planned to uncover them today because warmer weather is in the forecast.

High temperatures are expected to be in the 70s and low 80s this weekend, with lows between 40 and 55 degrees.

As he waited out the freeze threat on Thursday, Obermiller was hoping for minimal frost exposure, but he was prepared. "If need be," Obermiller said, "we'll sprinkle them again."

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Comment by KM on October 13, 2018 at 5:41pm


It’s Snowing So Much in Canada That Crops Can’t Get Harvested

Mike Ammeter barely received a drop of rain on his Alberta farm all summer. Now, wet and snowy weather has kept him from harvesting his crops for five weeks.

“There’s a lot left to be done,” said Ammeter, 58, who hasn’t been able to harvest any of the 1,300 remaining acres of canola, wheat and barley that’s sitting under 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow on his farm west of Red Deer, Alberta. “The wheat is going to be downgraded for quality. Those losses are already done.”

It’s unfortunate timing for Canada, one of the world’s top wheat suppliers and the biggest canola exporter. The U.S.-China trade war and production problems for Russia and Australia are creating an opening for Canada to grab more market share in the global crop trade. While the nation’s wheat exports are running ahead of last year so far, further harvest delays could impede some of those sales.

The global wheat issues drove December futures in Chicago up 7.3 percent this year to close at $5.1725 a bushel on Friday.

Still, investors are wary the gains may not last as Russia hasn’t curbed exports and Canada’s shipments have yet to significantly slow. Speculators held a net-short position, or the difference between bets on a price increase and wagers on a decline, of 16,885 futures and options in the week ended Oct. 9, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data published Friday.

Those bearish bets could end up squeezing hedge funds if weather problems continue. Canada’s harvest delays are now causing a backlog in exports as ships are sitting idle in Vancouver waiting for grain.

“Vessels arriving now were booked back in early August when no one would have guessed we’d be getting this kind of weather,” said Mark Hemmes, president of Edmonton, Alberta-based Quorum Corp., a company hired by the federal government to monitor Canada’s grain transportation system. “Not a good start to the shipping season.”

Rains May Force Some Replanting for U.S. Winter Wheat: FCStone

In Saskatchewan, the weather has slowed harvest across much of the region and stopped it altogether in northern areas, the province’s agriculture ministry said in an Oct. 10 report. Many crops are coming out of fields too damp and need to be placed in dryers, exacerbating delays.

It’s a similar situation in neighboring Alberta, where 47 percent of major crops have been harvested, trailing the five-year average of 82 percent, the province’s agriculture ministry said Friday in a report.

“It’s not unusual to have this kind of weather, but it is for it to last this long,” said Norm Hall, a farmer and vice president for the Canadian Federation of Agriculture.

Any wheat that’s left out in farmer Ammeter’s field will probably end up declining to a lower grade or be sold as feed after some plants were flattened by snow. Declines for crop quality could lower his revenue by thousands of dollars, while his costs could go up as he’ll have to spend more on fuel to dry the grain once it comes off the field, Ammeter said.

“It’s definitely a stressful time for farmers,” said Daryl Fransoo, who has yet to harvest 4,400 acres of canola on his farm 50 miles north of North Battleford, Saskatchewan. “There’s a lot of guys that are down in the dumps right now.”

Comment by KM on September 20, 2018 at 6:45pm


North Carolina Crops: Florence Hit at Worst Possible Time, Pre-Harvest – DTN

Cotton damaged by Hurricane Harvey, 2017. Photo: Josh McGinty, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

With rainfall totals in parts of North Carolina reaching as much as 36 inches since Thursday due to Hurricane Florence, a big chunk of rural North Carolina was largely marooned Monday with more than 1,000 roads closed in the state.  

Still, North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten noted the sun was shining in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Monday afternoon and he expected recovery would begin soon.

“We’re seeing some blue skies, and that makes everybody’s spirits a little better and that old Flo (Florence) has gone on north somewhere,” Wooten said. “We don’t wish it on anybody, but we’re just glad it’s off the coast of North Carolina.”

The North Carolina Farm Bureau is also a major insurer in the state, and people with personal property and business damages were trying to call offices to file claims. But phone lines were down and travel remains nearly impossible in parts of the state because of flooded roads and bridges.

“We got over 1,000 roads closed in this state,” Wooten said. “We can’t even get out with our insurance company and adjust claims in those hardest-hit areas because offices are marooned.”

Reuters reported Monday there were more than 462,000 homes and businesses without power in North Carolina and South Carolina. Some cities, such as Wilmington, North Carolina, also were basically surrounded by rising flood waters, requiring authorities to look at providing aid supplies by air.

While it’s too early to make specific damage calculations, the storm hit North Carolina with nearly all of the state’s 420,000 acres of cottonand 100,000 acres of peanuts still in the field. The cotton damage is unknown, but peanuts may manage while still in the ground.

North Carolina also is the largest sweet potato-producing state, and at least half the crop is still in the ground. Whether the crop suffers major damage depends on how long those sweet potatoes remain under standing water.  

“If the water stands on them very long, they will probably sour and be no good,” Wooten said.

Corn farmers worked pretty feverishly to get as much of the crop out as they could before the storm hit, Wooten said. But about half of the state’s 163,000 acres of flue-cured tobacco was still in the fields, as well, he said.

“It’s suffice to say the storm could not have hit North Carolina agriculture at a worse time, and North Carolina agriculture will take the brunt of the hit in terms of losses and expenses from this storm,” Wooten said, adding that the best tobacco, for instance, was still in the fields. “It’s undetermined as of yet what in the field will be salvageable, and we grow 50% of all of the tobacco in the United States.”

Tobacco in the bulk-curing barns also likely suffered damages, especially for farmers who lost power and could not keep heated air moving through the flue boxes.

While the crops will take a hit, Wooten credited North Carolina poultry and livestock producers for preparing ahead of time for the hurricane. “I would say almost all of our hog and poultry operations have auxiliary generators to make sure they can keep feed going into those houses, water going in there, as well as keep air on those animals,” Wooten said.

Wooten advised farmers to document their losses for crop insurance agents and the local Farm Service Agency when offices reopen. President Donald Trump had issued disaster declarations for both North and South Carolina that will open up some federal USDA programs for farmers and livestock producers.

One concern Wooten said is how farmers will now apply for trade aid assistance under the USDA Market Facilitation Program created last month. Under the program, farmers have to report their actual production from the 2018 crop to receive aid. But that will not help farmers who may have been weeks away from harvest who now have suffered significant yield losses because of the storms.

“So there’s a question when you go into the FSA office whether the loss is from the tariff or from the hurricane, so for us, it’s going to be a little different,” Wooten said.

In addition, hog producers pumped down lagoons in anticipation of high volumes of rain. The North Carolina Pork Council reported Monday that there had been at least one hog-lagoon breach on a small operation, but an inspection showed the solids remained in the lagoon. At least four other lagoons were overtaken by flood waters. With more than 3,000 active lagoons, the pork council was concerned about the impact of flooding.

Wooten said he had not heard of any hog producers’ lagoons breaking, but there were also problems with city waste-water treatment facilities.

“But we have got municipal sewage that dumped millions of gallons of untreated sewage and nobody seems to say anything about that, but they want to jump on the hog industry in North Carolina,” he said.

Comment by Howard on August 11, 2018 at 8:43pm
Comment by Gerard Zwaan on July 20, 2018 at 6:50pm

Crop failure and bankruptcy threaten farmers as drought grips Europe

Abnormally hot temperatures continue to wreak devastation across northern and central parts of the continent

Fri 20 Jul 2018 13.11 BSTLast modified on Fri 20 Jul 2018 13.13 BST

Farmers across northern and central Europe are facing crop failure and bankruptcy as one of the most intense regional droughts in recent memory strengthens its grip.

States of emergency have been declared in Latvia and Lithuania, while the sun continues to bake Swedish fields that have received only 12% of their normal rainfall.

The abnormally hot temperatures – which have topped 30C in the Arctic Circle – are in line with climate change trends, according to the World Meteorological Organization. And as about 50 wildfires rage across Sweden, no respite from the heatwave is yet in sight.

Lennart Nilsson, a 55-year-old cattle farmer from Falkenberg near Malmo and co-chair of the Swedish Farmers Association, said it was the worst drought he had experienced.

Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help

Read more

“This is really serious,” he said. “Most of south-west Sweden hasn’t had rain since the first days of May. A very early harvest has started but yields seem to be the lowest for 25 years – 50% lower, or more in some cases – and it is causing severe losses.”

If no rain comes soon, Nilsson’s association estimates agricultural losses of up to 8bn Swedish kronor (£700m) this year and widespread bankruptcies. The drought would personally cost him around 500,000 kronor (£43,000), Nilsson said, adding that, like most farmers, he is now operating at a loss.

The picture is little different in the Netherlands, where Iris Bouwers, a 25-year-old farmer, said the parched summer had been a “catastrophe” for her farm.

“Older families around me are comparing this to 1976,” she said. “My dad can’t remember any drought like this.”

The Bouwerses expect to lose €100,000 this year after a 30% drop in their potato crop. After investing in a pig stable over the winter, the family have no savings to cover the loss. 

Asked what she would do, Bouwers just laughed. “Hope and pray,” she said. “There is not much more I can do. I wouldn’t talk about bankruptcy yet, but our deficit will be substantial. It probably means we need to have a very good talk with the bank.”

Sprinklers spray land with water in the area around Castricum, the Netherlands.
Sprinklers spray land with water in the area around Castricum, the Netherlands. Photograph: Koen van Weel/EPA

If anything, the situation is even worse in Poland, Belarus and the Czech Republic, where vegetation stress has taken hold. In parts of Germany, some farmers are reportedly destroying arid crops.

After June was declared the second warmest on record, the European commission pledged to help farmers with a raft of measures, including the temporary suspension of “greening” obligations partly intended to prevent climate change.

Farmers who have diversified their crops and invested in irrigation are in a better position to handle extreme weather events, which will become more common as the climate warms. But that is not an option for smallholders with monocultures and little access to irrigation.

Jannes Maes, a small dairy farmer in Flanders and the president of the European council of young farmers, said concerns about insolvent farms were rising but were not the only problem.

“Bankruptcies would be hard,” he said, “but the economic loss farmers are suffering is often just as bad because they are hidden bankruptcies that have been prevented by wasting family capital on a farm.”

Workers trie to extinguish a fire on a field that broke out due to ongoing drought in Brehna, Germany.
Workers trie to extinguish a fire on a field that broke out due to ongoing drought in Brehna, Germany. Photograph: Hendrik Schmidt/AFP/Getty Image

Thomas Duffy, an Irish dairy farmer from County Cavan, said the drought “won’t break us, but our feeding costs are 50% higher than last year and all the money we’d normally be putting into improving conditions for the cows and infrastructure is now going to silages [winter feed] and buying forage.”

The European Drought Observatory (EDO) has described the drought as “an extensive and severe anomaly” affecting Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland, the Baltics, the Netherlands and northern Germany.

A spokeswoman for the EU’s Joint Research Centre, which oversees the EDO, said farmers should prepare to adapt to a warmer climate with “diversification or change of crop types and varieties, but also a more efficient use of water”.

All water-related sectors “should be preparing sustainable adaptation measures towards an increase of drought frequency and intensity in the future”, she said.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/20/crop-failure-an...

Comment by KM on July 7, 2018 at 9:35pm


Northern Europe dry, Southern Europe hit by hail

Temperatures well above 20 degrees Celsius are being recorded far into the topmost northern regions of Europe. These sunny days are, however, accompanied by a lack of rain and low humidity. There are concerns about drought in several countries in north-west Europe. Further to the south, farmers have no issues with this. In some cases, it is just the opposite. Severe hailstorms have damaged crops in various countries.

The European Union is worried about this year's harvests. This is according to June's JRC MARS Bulletin. This document contains the harvest forecasts for the season. In general, estimates have been adjusted downward. The map below shows the areas of concern. From these, the division in Europe immediately becomes obvious. The north is dealing with a drought while further to the south there has been too much precipitation.
UK: Warmth hastens soft fruit season
In Kent, UK, a cold spring was quickly followed by a hot summer. This has resulted in an erratic season. Raspberries are doing well at the moment. There are, however, fewer strawberries available. Traditionally, the demand for strawberries increases around the time Wimbledon is being played. Two weeks ago, this sector was struggling with an oversupply. This just goes to show how erratic the season is.

Higher-than-usual temperatures are being recorded on the east coast of Scotland. The outliers here are, however, not as extreme as in the south of the United Kingdom. Temperatures range between 17 and 21 degrees. These peaks in the season are putting pressure on the market; not only in sales but also in the chain. For example, it is affecting the number of pickers, of which there is already a shortage. These anomalies are also proving to be challenging for logistics. The high demand is catching up to these peaks. In Scotland, the season starts in May already. There will be enough soft fruit for another week or two. The low supply from England means there is little pressure on the market. Due to the heat, pickers start work at around 4 in the morning. Harvesting stops at about 11 when temperatures begin to rise. Labour costs are, therefore, high.
Fewer Irish potatoes
Irish consumers have to contend with higher potato prices this year. A cold winter with a lot of snow has been followed by a warm, dry period. The potato farmers organisation, IFA, is concerned about this year's harvest. The potatoes that were planted early were affected by the cold. "And if it reaches 24-25 degrees Celsius, they stop growing", the organisation stated in The Independent. The sector warns that the drought will cause an increase in fruit and vegetable prices. 
Norway: rains delays soft fruit season
The cold weather and heavy rain experienced in early June, limited soft fruit growers in the north of Norway. Blackberries bloomed two weeks later than usual. This is largely due to the rain. This not only delays the plants' growth but also makes it difficult to work on the fields.

The Netherlands: growing onions on 'little islands'
There is a prolonged dry spell in the Netherlands. May was a record month in terms of heat and June was one of the driest since 1901. July has also begun very hot and dry. Since this week, the summer of 2018 has been in the fifth percentile of the driest ever recorded. The KNMI sees 'cautious indications' that dry summers will become more frequent in the future. "We are near the longest day of the year. This means extra long days with lots of sunshine and high temperatures. The dry spell has far more impact now than, for instance, in the dry day in mid-August", says a Dutch trader. He often goes out into the field with growers. He sees, first hand, how dramatically the dry spell is affecting orchards and horticulture in North and Central Europe. "Plants are in survival mode, not growth mode. Farmers are constantly irrigating their crops. A very powerful north-eastern wind, however, quickly evaporates the water. I expect production prices to rise too. Looking at the 14-day weather forecast, the wind direction is not changing."

The dryness in this country is having various consequences. Significant shortages of open field lettuces with sky-prices are being reported on the wholesale markets at the moment. This is also due to the extreme weather conditions during spring, as well as the heat. LTO says the influence of the drought differs between regions and crops. "There is growth stagnation over the whole line. The situation is dire for growers that can, or may, not irrigate", says Esther de Snoo of LTO Nederland. In many areas in the Netherlands, farmers are still dealing well with the lack of rain. However, the longer it continues, the lower the yields will be. This will have an effect on price formations. Retailers and speciality shops expect prices to increase because of the drought. The current weather conditions are good for some growers. Potato and onions farmer, for example, have very little problems with disease. This is thanks to the continued drought. They can also still keep their crops in the ground.
The drought affects the growth of potatoes the most. It is difficult to keep them growing because the heat evaporates the water so quickly. "You see the potato leaves hanging limply in some fields. It is difficult to recover from this", says a trader. The alarming reports of the dry spell are not yet being reflected in the prices. This, despite the usual volumes not being met. "The consumer market does feel somewhat firmer. Doré prices, of which fewer were planted, and Eigenheimer and Biltstar prices are showing an upward trend. The price for Frieslanders is, however, climbing less quickly." In the longer term, digging up the potatoes could be a problem. Doing so mechanically does not work when the soil is dry.
The early potatoes that are currently being harvested in South Limburg have stopped growing. The volumes are also much lower. This will also be the case with the organic variety from Flevoland, where harvesting will being soon. The drought's effect on the storage potatoes has not yet been determined. This is because these plants only grow between August and October.
Cauliflower and lettuce farmers in North Holland and lettuce growers in Limburg have indicated that the effects of the drought have been lessened by means of irrigation. It may be that the apples and pears will be smaller. Berries ripen fast thanks to the heat. They are also being harvested earlier than usual.

Belgian farmers experiencing water shortages
For now, it seems that drought has had no influence on crops in Belgium. That is to say, yields have not been affected. The past few months have been very dry. This is despite the thunderstorms that hit the south of the country at the end of May. Erosion-sensitive orchards have been severely damaged by flooding and mudslides.
People at a Belgian strawberry farm have noticed that the drought is causing water shortages. "It is not yet a serious issue, but we have seen that it is very dry. Our strawberries are cultivated in the substrate. Usually, we use rainwater, supplemented by fertilisers. We also use rainwater to cool down the greenhouse roofs. We always have water available, but I think the drought could become a problem for us", says the grower.
Greenhouse tomatoes have not been affected by the lack of rain. They are, however, having problems with the heat. "The heat is affecting these vegetables. The greenhouses have enough water in reserve to get through dry periods like this. The heat, however, plays a part. The tomatoes' quality is, however, good at the moment. We do not have any issues with this. We have noticed that problems arise with quality toward the end of the season. The scene that is now being set with the hot weather will make for issues with quality", says a tomato farmer.
Germany: time almost up for potato farmers
In large parts of Germany, there is currently talk of a protracted dry spell and relatively high temperatures. For now, this is not causing any major issues. The heat has a positive, rather than negative effect on a large number of products. Yet, an increasing number of producers and traders are voicing their concern about the current climate conditions: in the Lüneburger Heide region in the in the state of Nedersaksen - Germany's main potato supplier - the farmers are realising that their time is almost up. The artificial irrigations systems have been working at full capacity there for weeks now. There is also no talk as yet, tof large-scale problems. However, if the drought continues for ten to 14 days, the consequences will be enormous. Part of the harvest will, undoubtedly, be lost. Unfortunately, not a drop of rain has been predicted for the coming days.
Vegetable and herb products in Noordrijn-Westfalen are currently experiencing the full effect of the dry spell. Various growers have reported that the fields have dried out completely, despite irrigation. This has all got to do with the wind, which is permanently blowing. This prevents the water from being evenly distributed on the ground. There is, therefore, a risk of substantial shortages of spinach, spring onions, and various kinds of herbs. Iglo is Germany's main supplier of frozen vegetables. They are working behind the scenes to find all the possible alternatives to the local supply of fresh products for the processing sector.
Switzerland supplementing crops with imports
In Switzerland, the effects of the dry spell are already somewhat noticeable. This was confirmed by a lettuce producer. Supplemental imports have already been needed to meet the volumes being demanded. Based on the current weather predictions, it is expected that this will become more prevalent in the coming days and weeks. On the other hand, the high temperatures have been beneficial. They have boosted lettuce consumption. The price situation is, therefore, becoming more interesting for traders.

France: enough rain
In France, growers have hardly been affected by the drought. Brittany has recently had to deal with heavy rainstorms, says a spokesperson from a large growers association. The Bordeaux region has also had enough rain. A farmer says, "It rained so much at the beginning of the year, that we could not get onto the fields. This was accompanied by a shortage of sunshine. The weather conditions only improved again a month ago."
Temperatures started climbing quickly about ten days ago. According to the grower, this has a major influence on the French market. "Just about the whole of the French vegetable production sector had bad weather at the beginning of the year. This cause delays throughout the sector. Now, the weather conditions are improving. This means everyone is bringing their product to market at the same time. The consumers are, however, not ready for this. Prices are low." This farmer predicts that the real drought is still to come. "When it gets really hot here, you see temperatures of 40 degrees. The plants really suffer under these conditions. Fortunately, we recently had good rains." Earlier in the week, hail storms hit Charente and Aquitaine, in the south-west of France. They left behind a trail of destruction. Whether crops were damaged, is not yet known. One early estimate tells of an area of 15.000 hectares of beans and corn that was struck.
Italy: hail damage to unprotected crops
Further to the south still, the Val di Non, Braz (Trentino), was hit by a hailstorm on 3 July. In images circulating on the internet, among other things, an apple orchard, with no hail netting, can be seen in the background. It is evident that there will be hail damage in this orchard. The hailstorm was, however, localised. Further down the valley, growers had no problems with hail, although the temperature did fall substantially. There was also a lot of precipitation in the Val di Fassa  (Trentino) region. The area is not known for its orchards, but there was substantial damage to the infrastructure there. 
Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on July 3, 2018 at 1:25am

80% of Hawaiian papaya farms gone


Fissure 8 Flow Affects Puna Papaya Farms

July 2, 2018, 1:11 PM HST

VIDEO: The small plume from Fissure 22 is seen just to the left of Fissure 8’s large plume. Panning to the left, the ocean entry plume of laze and the flat area of Kapoho can be seen. June 30, 2018 at 6:21p.m. VC: Crystal Richard

After the “Future of Pāhoa” town hall meeting on June 30, 2018, Big Island Now was given the opportunity to travel to lower Puna with a state legislator and a papaya farmer to view fields and the impacts on the farm.

The hour-long ride to the farmer’s land traveled through one checkpoint and several gates on multiple properties to get. The roads have been cut off and this—the long way—was the only way in.

This video was taken from what used to be papaya fields, until lava flows came through about three weeks ago.

The farm was previously also growing banana, soursop, oranges, macnuts and more.

The papaya fields are now covered by lava and directly adjacent to a river of lava.

The owners of this property are still harvesting fruit but no longer live on the property.

Hawai‘i Island has so far lost 80% of its papaya farms.

Fissure 8 is erupting 26,000 gallons of lava per second. USGS said the channelized flow was moving at an average of 17 mph.

The eruption in the Lower East Rift Zone, now in week eight, and has been producing around 25,000 tons of sulfur dioxide per day

Trade-winds are blowing the emissions to the south.

In the last few days, six homes have been taken by the lava, in addition to last week’s official count of 657.

Lava covers 6,164 acres.

The Fissure 8 flow has stabilized but shows no indication of stopping anytime soon.

Comment by KM on August 12, 2017 at 2:12pm


Extreme heat decimating crops in parts of Europe

Pavel Tordaj, 42, a farmer, shows corn damaged by drought as he stands inside his field of corn in Padina, Serbia, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Authorities and experts are warning that extremely hot and dry summer this year in the Balkans has decimated crops, dried rivers and hurt the animal world. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)Pavel Tordaj, 42, a farmer, shows corn damaged by drought as he stands inside his field of corn in Padina, Serbia, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Authorities and experts are warning that extremely hot and dry summer this year in the Balkans has decimated crops, dried rivers and hurt the animal world.  Pavel Tordaj, 42, a farmer, stands inside his field of corn which has been decimated by drought, in Padina, Serbia, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Authorities and experts are warning that extremely hot and dry summer this year in the Balkans has decimated crops, dried rivers and hurt the animal world. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
A field cleared of sunflowers destroyed by drought is seen in Padina, Serbia, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Authorities and experts are warning that extremely hot and dry summer this year in the Balkans has decimated crops, dried rivers and hurt the animal world. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Sunflowers decimated by drought are seen in a field in Padina, Serbia, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. Authorities and experts are warning that extremely hot and dry summer this year in the Balkans has decimated crops, dried rivers and hurt the animal world. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

BELGRADE, Serbia — Evidence is piling up that this year's sizzling summer in central and southeastern Europe has decimated crops, drained rivers and hurt the animal world.

As the drought's costs become clearer, temperatures in Serbia, Romania, Hungary and Croatia soared to nearly 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) again on Thursday following a few days of moderately less oppressive heat.

The region is enduring one of the hottest and driest summers in years, during which several people have died and dozens of wildfires have flared. The drought has also ratcheted up demand for water and electricity.

Serbia has been one of the hardest hit countries, with experts saying an estimated 60 percent of corn crops destroyed. The ministry of ecology also says water levels across the country have dropped drastically, threatening fish stocks.

"This is really sad!" said farmer Pavel Tordaj from the northern Serbian village of Padina, while showing withered corn and scorched sunflower on his land.

Tordaj said nearly all his corn, and half of his sunflowers have been destroyed by the drought, adding that it will be very hard for the farmers to make up for the loss.

"Who will pay for that?" he asked. "We took loans from the bank."

Corn accounts for around one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of Serbia's farmland, which is widely perceived as having a poor watering system.

Overall, around 60 percent of corn crops have been destroyed, according to Zeljko Kaitovic from the state-run Maize Research Institute.

"Unfortunately, extreme drought conditions caught the corn in the most sensitive phase of development," he said. "Not even heavy, longer rains could help now."

Serbian government officials have said any shortages following this year's drought will be covered from state reserves to avoid further damage. The government has also urged consumers to be cautious with water usage and factories to refrain from depositing waste into drained rivers where the fish are already suffering.

In neighboring Hungary, the drought has reduced the number of birds hatching in a national park as many of the breeding areas have dried out.

Preliminary state statistics have shown a predicted decline in Hungary's grain harvest of around seven percent. Rising temperatures have also prompted Hungary to set a stricter legal definition of what constitutes a drought, which will make it more difficult for farmers to get compensation from insurance companies.

In the country's Koros-Maros National Park, the majority of stork nests observed this year had only three young birds instead of the usual four and none had more than five. Many of the nests had only a single nestling.

In the Czech Republic, authorities said farmlands in the southeast of the country have been most affected amid predictions that the corn harvest could fall by more than 50 percent.

In many Czech rivers, the water levels have been about 25 - 50 percent lower than the long-term average, a development that's prompted authorities to ban the use of river water for gardens.

Meanwhile, in Romania, experts from the country's Academy of Agricultural and Forest Science were holding a conference Thursday on how the weather changes are affecting the crops. The academy said earlier this year that hot temperatures in recent years had killed off fruit trees and vines, including apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, peach and walnut trees.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on June 21, 2017 at 8:35pm


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Natural-disaster declared in parts of South Dakota as severe drought and late frost destroy nearly $ 20 million in crops and counting

The Hughes County Commission declared a natural-disaster drought emergency on Monday at their regular meeting, hoping it will unleash some federal and state funds to help farmers who have already lost wheat, hay and pasture-grass crops.
The county's farmers have reported $16.85 million worth of crop losses, with 90.7 percent of those losses coming from the winter-wheat crop alone, which was planted last fall, according to assessments given to the five-man commission by Brian Stewart.
Stewart is the director of the Farm Service Agency - the federal office that runs the farm program - in Hughes and Stanley Counties.
The remaining 9.32 percent of the estimated losses come from spring wheat, alfalfa and pasture-grass crops, according to figures Stewart gave the commission on Monday.
In his "loss assessment reports," which he will turn in with the commission's emergency declaration, Stewart said that 300 farmers in the county were hit hard by the hot, dry conditions, including receiving only 61 percent of normal precipitation from Jan. 1 to June 1.
"We know there are a lot of losses to winter wheat," Stewart told the commission. "Alfalfa got hurt bad and it's not all because of drought.
We also had frost in the last week of May.
That hurt, too. But the drought has really . . . exacerbated it out there."
Even with the good that last week's rains can do, "A lot of the crops were hurt bad enough where there won't be any helping them," Stewart said.
"And we don't have all the acreage reports in yet."
Stewart was preaching to the choir.
"From what I have seen out in the county, . . in areas down by "the pocket," (in the southeast corner of the county) . . . you can count every rock out in the pasture," said Commission Chairman Norm Weaver.
"That's the eastern side of Hughes County.
Then you go north there, and I don't remember seeing winter wheat where you were able to row it, almost at the Fourth of July," he said, referring to the sickly growth of the wheat not filling in even its narrow rows.
"It's tough out there," Weaver said.
The drought disaster declaration cites "inadequate winter snowfall, inadequate spring rainfall, desolating winds and late frost conditions," which led the commissioners to unanimously declare "that said drought conditions constitute a natural disaster of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of this county, and even the state of South Dakota, and that federal assistance is necessary. . .
" That's what the commission is hoping to do with their "whereases" and resolutions.
Their declaration can help "open up emergency loans," through U.S. Department of Agriculture's programs, especially ones aimed at helping ranchers who are short of grass and hay, Stewart said. "And in the bigger picture, once you (pass this resolution), I will forward it on to the Secretary (of Agriculture Sonny Perdue).
" That could lead to a disaster declaration for the state, Stewart said.
"What that can bring, I can't tell you for sure, because Congress with a stroke of the pen can change things . . . (but) there may be some disaster money out there," Stewart's assessment reports said that county farmers lost 3.32 million bushels of winter-wheat yield on 56,311 acres in the county, caused by the hot, dry conditions since March 1 and lasting season-long, as well as a late frost at the end of May.
The lost winter-wheat bushels were valued by Stewart at $4.60 per bushel, which means a $15.28 million loss in winter-wheat income to farmers in the county.
The spring-wheat crop hasn't done too well, either, Stewart said.
He got information from farmers on 4,642 acres that showed a projected loss of 176,396 bushels valued at $5 per bushel, for a total financial loss of $881,980.
The alfalfa on 3,712 acres in the county was hit first by a late, damaging frost from May 20-22, that did an estimated $211,584 of hurt - knocking off 2,227 tons of hay valued at $95 a ton, according to Stewart.
The same acres then were hit by drought starting March 1 that will have effects all season, knocking out another 4,083 tons of alfalfa hay, for a projected financial hit of $387,904.
Alfalfa producers typically cut two to four crops of hay per season.
Ranchers in the county also reported losses in value of $89,318 on 105,500 acres of pasture, according to Stewart.
Comment by KM on May 4, 2017 at 2:28am


2017 Mid-South Rice: Floods sink crop

Approximately 100,000 planted acres of Arkansas rice have been lost to flooding, says Dr. Jarrod Hardke, the state's rice Extension agronomist. Powerful storms moved through Arkansas last weekend. The high winds and heavy rain were blamed for seven deaths and Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency. 

Some of the higher 24-hour rainfall totals reported by the National Weather Service included 10.59 inches at Rogers, 10.12 at Elm Springs, 9.1 inches at Farmington, and 8.5 inches at Savoy, 7.85 inches at Guy and 7.82 inches at Georgetown. 

"There is major flooding along Current and Little Black rivers in western Clay County and thousands of acres of rice and corn will be impacted," said Stewart Runsick, Extension staff chair for Clay County at Corning, Ark. "I am sure replanting will be necessary in many fields. We had the best stand of corn that I had seen in many years." 

In several counties, the rain and flooding eroded or destroyed levees, washing out rice fields. 

100,000 acres lost 

Approximately 100,000 planted acres of Arkansas rice have been lost to flooding, says Dr. Jarrod Hardke, the state's rice Extension agronomist. 

In his May 2 Arkansas Rice Update he says "the damage and losses will only increase beyond my estimate, not get lower." 

Arkansas farmers were off to an early, good start before the flooding, with nearly 90 percent of the crop planted.How long will submerged rice live? Hardke writes the answer is difficult because many factors are involved, including growth state, air and water temperatures, water depth and clarity. 

"As a general rule, the breaking point for young, submerged rice is about 10 days... If the water is not off in seven days, you need to start actively working to get water off someway, somehow if possible," he writes. 

Mother Nature had other plans 

Jeff Rutledge's Jackson County, Ark., rice farm is located where the surging Black and White rivers merge. In the May 2 USA Rice Daily he says, "As of now, the only way we can get to our farm shop is by boat. We are headed up in a plane later today to determine the scope of damage." 

"The excessive rainfall hit us hard and then the lack of drainage due to flooding rivers only compounds the problem," said Jennifer James, another rice farmer in Jackson County, Ark. 

"We were off to a really good start on this crop year and Mother Nature had other plans. In the end, it will likely be weeks before the extent of the damage and losses can accurately be determined." 

"At the moment, the best the rice industry can hope for is quickly receding waters, but the rain hasn't even stopped yet," said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs. "Private crop insurance assistance, in the form of replanting or preventative planting coverage can't begin to be calculated until June 10 — the last day of potential planting." 

County updates 

From the May 1 USDA Arkansas Crop Progress and Condition Report

"There was a small window that allowed for corn and rice planting to near completion this week. The early planted corn received sidedress nitrogen and sulfur. Producers are watching the Arkansas and Fourche rivers as they near flood stage, and more rain is forecasted. Livestock and farm machinery have been moved out of bottoms to higher ground." — Kevin Lawson, Perry County, Ark. 

"Hail damaged corn and soybeans earlier in the week. Now we are dealing with countywide flooding." - Branon Thiesse, Craighead County, Ark. 

"Fieldwork was limited to three days this week due to heavy rainfall. Corn and rice received herbicide applications for weed control. Some corn layby nitrogen was applied. Crops are beginning to show water stress in low areas." - Brent Griffin, Prairie County, Ark. 

"Greene County received 6 to 10 inches of rain in the last week. This halted planting and slowed emergence. Some fields will need spot planting or replanting. Cache and St. Francis rivers are rising and covering adjacent fields. We need a few days without rain, but more is forecasted." - Dave Freeze, Greene County, Ark. 

"Rain from 3 to 8 inches resulted in significant flooding of low lying areas, with many planted fields under several inches of standing water." - Richard Klerk, Woodruff County, Ark. 

Comment by lonne rey on May 2, 2017 at 2:41pm

We Lost the Western Kansas Wheat Crop This Weekend


Blizzard conditions and heavy snow swept western Kansas, including 14 to 20 inches in Colby in the northwestern quadrant of the No. 1 winter wheat state in the nation

The snow and freezing weather struck a winter wheat crop that was developing faster than usual, thanks to a mild winter.

Spring blizzard buries hopes of many western Kansas wheat farmers


The freak late-spring blizzard over the weekend could prove disastrous for farmers in far western Kansas.

Gary Millershaski, who farms in Kearny County west of Garden City said his cattle were blasted by the wind and snow. He had about 40 calves and has lost at least 10, he said.

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