"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.

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FULL TEXT FROM ABOVE LINKS

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 August 15, 2021 at 12:28am

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/drought-farmers-saskatc...

Prairie farmers struggle as drought set to become among worst in Canadian history

'Production is down to almost nothing,' Sask. farmer says

Farmer Derek Tallon stands in one of his lentil fields near Lafleche, Sask. Tallon is harvesting the worst crop he's ever grown and expects his overall production to drop by 75 per cent this year. Tallon says he is disappointed but accepts 'the inherent risks' of farming. 

Saskatchewan farmer Derek Tallon is harvesting one of the worst lentil crops he's ever grown.

Like other farmers in the region, he watched his crops struggle to grow without much rain or reprieve from unrelenting heat during what one expert says is shaping up to be the worst drought in Canadian history.


Tallon's farm in southern Saskatchewan only received about 50 millimetres of rain this year, compared to 190 millimetres during a normal year.

"This should probably be some of our weakest stuff," he said, scooping up a fistful of dried plants.

University of Saskatchewan Prof. John Pomeroy predicts more frequent and severe droughts in the Prairie region by the late 21st century. 

"There's only a handful of lentils here. The grasshoppers have shelled out a lot of what was here on to the ground and chewed off a lot of the leaves. Production is down to almost nothing."

The 40-year-old and his father farm about 16,000 acres near Lafleche, which is about 200 kilometres southwest of Regina. They grow a mix of grains, pulses and oil seeds.

They have only been able to produce five bushels of lentils an acre this year, a far cry from their long-term average of 27 bushels an acre, says Tallon.

"We are probably only at about a quarter of a normal crop [in this region], maybe in certain areas even less than that," he said.

Tallon says he is disappointed but accepts "the inherent risks" of farming.

Drought could become worst in Canadian history

This year's drought is on its way to becoming the worst the Prairies have ever recorded and the worst ever in Canada, according to John Pomeroy, Canada research chair in water resources and climate change at the University of Saskatchewan. It is already worse than a severe drought in 1961, he said.

"It's early to call it the most severe [drought] at this point, but it certainly has all the hallmarks of heading in that direction," Pomeroy said.

Canada is one of several areas in the world affected by droughts. To the south, severe droughts have hit the western half of the United States. (U.S. Drought Monitor)

A decade-long drought hit Saskatchewan in the 1930s, but areas like northern Alberta and northern Saskatchewan were unaffected at the time, he said.

"There are no areas like that now," said Pomeroy.

Temperatures in July were three to four degrees hotter than normal while the amount of precipitation was one of the lowest on record, he said. 

"When you combine those two, then it looks like the most severe drought is emerging ever experienced over the Prairies," he said.

The conditions extend beyond Canada, he said, with severe droughts in the western half of the United States, the Mediterranean region, Kazakhstan and Russia, as well as years of drought in Australia. 

Heat, wind, grasshoppers and very little rain have resulted in major production loss for Saskatchewan farmers. 

The consequences for food security could be "quite severe," he said.

Farmers who manage to squeeze out an average harvest this year could end up doing quite well as grain prices continue to soar, fuelled by low supply.

That's giving Tallon something to look forward to.

"We could be looking at high grain prices next season and that's our hope right now — we grow a crop next year and we capitalize on the price increases we've seen," said Tallon.

'Crop failure on our hands'

About 25 kilometres east, near the village of Limerick, farmer Barry Reisner also tries to remain positive.

"Farmers are resilient," he said. "We've had a number of good crops in the last 10 years or so, and it shouldn't be a surprise that they can't all be good."

In his 50 years of farming, Reisner says he has learned to accept the bad with the good, and to manage risks with insurance and other strategies.

Still, it's tough to swallow.

"We just haven't had enough rain to produce a crop, so we have a crop failure on our hands," he said. "It's hard to see your efforts going down the drain."

He says he worries about other farmers who may face financial penalties after signing contracts guaranteeing shipments and price with grain companies months ago.

"Farmers who have signed those contracts don't have the grain to deliver, and they have a commitment that they can't meet," said Reisner.

This is already the second severe drought Saskatchewan has experienced since the start of the century, after one in 2001-2002.

The future for farmers remains uncertain, with predictions of more extreme droughts as well as floods.

"Under some of the business-as-usual scenarios, it shows Saskatchewan warming up by six to seven degrees by the end of the century from what we are now, which is already too warm," said Pomeroy.

Comment by Tracie Crespo on July 14, 2021 at 3:20pm

https://www.wsj.com/articles/coffee-prices-soar-after-bad-harvests-...


Coffee Prices Soar After Bad Harvests and Insatiable Demand

Global consumption set to exceed production this year as Brazil is hit with worst drought-driven drop in output in almost 20 years



Brazil’s coffee farmers were expecting a relatively weak harvest this year, but the drought has made it worse.

PHOTO: IGOR DO VALE/ZUMA PRESS

Global coffee prices are climbing and threatening to drive up costs at the breakfast table as the world’s biggest coffee producer, Brazil, faces one of its worst droughts in almost a century.

Prices for arabica coffee beans—the main variety produced in Brazil—hit their highest level since 2016 last month. New York-traded arabica futures have risen over 18% in the past three months to $1.51 a pound. London-traded robusta—a stronger-tasting variety favored in instant coffee—has risen over 30% in the past three months, to $1,749 a metric ton, a two-year high.

Brazil’s farmers are girding for one of their biggest slumps in output in almost 20 years after months of drought left plants to wither. Brazil’s arabica crop cycles between one stronger year followed by a weaker year. Following a record harvest in 2020, 2021 was set to be a weaker year, but the drop is more severe than expected.

“I’ve been growing coffee more than 50 years, and I’ve never seen as bad a drought as the one last year and this year,” said Christina Valle, a third-generation coffee grower in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s biggest coffee-growing state. “I normally take three months to harvest my coffee; this year it took me a month,” she said.

Brazil’s total coffee harvest this year is expected to drop by the biggest year-over-year amount since 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Its arabica crop is forecast to be almost 15 million 132-pound bags smaller than in 2020.

Others are guarding for an even larger slump. Dutch agricultural bank Rabobank expects the harvest to be 17 million bags smaller, while commodities brokerage ED&F Man, whose Volcafe arm is one of the world’s largest coffee traders, expects a decline of more than 23 million bags.

“A drop that severe is unprecedented,” said Kona Haque, head of research at ED&F Man.

The pandemic shook up how consumers drink coffee. Demand for at-home machines and instant brews rose, compensating somewhat for closed coffee shops. The price rally comes just as Western nations are emerging from lockdowns and cafes are welcoming back customers starved of out-of-home coffee culture.

Global coffee consumption is expected to exceed production this year for the first time since 2017, according to the USDA. The department expects 165 million bags of beans to be consumed in 2021. That is 1.8 million bags more than last year. Meanwhile, global coffee production is expected to decline to 164.8 million bags.

There are other factors behind the price rally. Two other major producing nations, Colombia and Vietnam, have had much better harvests than Brazil but are struggling with a different issue: Port delays have left beans sitting idle on the dock.

Exports of Colombian coffee, particularly desired by baristas for its milder flavor, fell as antigovernment protesters blocked highways and ports. A shortage of shipping containers and rocketing freight costs hit Vietnamese farmers, who produce more than a third of the world’s supply of robusta.

“The whole supply chain suffered not only a significant increase in costs but also massive delays,” said Carlos Mera, head of agri-commodities market research at Rabobank. Unlike other commodities, which can be shipped on bulk carriers, coffee can only be moved around the globe in containers, he said.

Investors are also playing a role, betting that commodities will benefit from rising prices generally. Some investors bid up the price of coffee by putting money in commodity index funds that track broad baskets of commodities from industrial metals to coffee and cocoa, said Mr. Mera.

Your Coffee Is Getting More Expensive. Here’s Why
Your Coffee Is Getting More Expensive. Here’s Why
Coffee prices are heating up, and experts say an even bigger price hike could be coming. WSJ explains the web of economic forces that help determine the cost of coffee. Illustration: Mallory Brangan/WSJ

“There is a lot of money right now that is very keen on holding commodities as real assets, as hedges against inflation,” he said.

Coffee roasters have so far held off from passing higher prices on to consumers, said Ms. Haque. The higher costs of beans coupled with higher freight costs could mean roasters start charging consumers more if they think post-lockdown demand will be strong, she said.

In Brazil, farmers say their stockpiles left over from last year’s bumper crop are dwindling and they are concerned they could run out before next year’s harvest begins.

“We’re a bit worried about having enough to sell next year,” said José Marcos Magalhães, president of the Minasul coffee cooperative. The cooperative is urging members to deliver whatever coffee they have to the cooperative so that it can keep meeting its orders, he said.

Coffee lovers could still find a reprieve. Brazil’s spring rains, which typically fall in September, will be crucial for determining whether damaged coffee plants can recover and produce enough beans during next year’s harvest, said Steve Pollard, a coffee analyst at brokerage Marex.

The alternative could see prices rise even higher, he said. Coffee plants take about 2½ years to develop, and farmers can’t respond quickly by simply planting more crops. “If there is a significant deficit then prices could skyrocket,” he said.


Dry river banks next to a coffee plantation show the extent of the recent drought in Brazil’s biggest coffee-producing state, Minas Gerais.

PHOTO: JONNE RORIZ/BLOOMBERG NEWS

Comment by KM on June 28, 2021 at 5:00pm

https://watchers.news/2021/06/28/80-percent-of-2021-peach-crop-dest...

80 percent of 2021 peach crop destroyed by frost, Hungary


80 percent of 2021 peach crop destroyed by frost, Hungary


About 80% of the 2021 peach crop in Hungary has been destroyed by spring frost, the National Agriculture Chamber said.

"Hungary is good for growing peaches, but only the right types, in the right places and with the proper farming technology," said Béla Mártonffy, head of the chamber's orchard section.

"Orchard growers need to gradually change over to types of peaches that can stand up better to the challenge of global climate change, he added.

Comment by Howard on August 12, 2020 at 5:58pm

Intense Derecho Flattens 10 Million Acres of Iowa Farmland, 43% of Corn and Soybean Crop (Aug 11) 

A rare powerful storm system roared across the Midwest this week, killing at least two people and also causing widespread damage to millions of acres of crops in Iowa.

The "intense derecho" traveled from southeast South Dakota all the way to Ohio, a path of 770 miles in 14 hours. Winds of 112 miles per hour were recorded in Midway, near Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

When the system reached Des Moines, Iowa, wind gusts were clocked at more than 100 mph, flattening millions of acres of crops and destroying grain silos.

“This morning I had a farmer reach out to me to say this was the worst wind damage to crops and farm buildings that he has ever seen across the state in such a wide area,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters on Tuesday.

Reynolds said early estimates indicate 10 million acres (4 million hectares) have been damaged in the nation’s top corn-producing state and many grain bins were destroyed. That's nearly a third of the roughly 31 million acres (12.5 million hectares) of land farmed in the state sustained damage from the derecho.

According to data from the USDA, 23.4 million acres were seeded with corn and soybeans this spring.

By early estimates that would mean some 43 percent of Iowa’s 2020 corn and soybean crop has been damaged or destroyed by the violent storm system.

The most significant damage is to the corn crop, which is in the advanced stages of development, nearly a month away from the beginning of harvest.

In Jasper County, farmer Brian Rumbaugh said the storm flattened most of his 450 acres of corn, something he's never seen in his 50 years of farming.

“This is the worst one I've ever had,” he said. “We had tornadoes go through a while back, tornadoes 300-400 feet wide, (but) this was everything.”

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said tens of millions of bushels worth of commercial grain storage and millions of bushels of on-farm grain storage has been damaged or destroyed.

Iowa officials reported roofs torn off homes and buildings, vehicles were blown off roads and hit by trees, and people hurt by flying debris. One death and dozens of injuries were reported in the state.

Hundreds of thousands of residents in Iowa's three largest cities remained without electricity on Wednesday, two days after the rare wind storm.

Sources

https://www.foxbusiness.com/money/derecho-iowa-crop-land-farmland-m...

https://www.thehour.com/news/article/Hundreds-of-thousands-without-...

Comment by KM on November 12, 2019 at 3:03pm

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/officials-are-using-the-w...


Officials Are Using The Word “Disaster” To Describe The Widespread Crop Failures Happening All Over America


We are witnessing “unprecedented” crop failures all across the United States, but the big mainstream news networks are not talking too much about this yet.  As you will see below, local news outlets all over the nation are reporting the disasters that are taking place in their own local areas, but very few people are putting the pieces of the puzzle together on a national level.  The endless rain and horrific flooding during the early months of this year resulted in tremendous delays in getting crops planted in many areas, and now snow and bitterly cold temperatures are turning harvest season into a complete and utter nightmare all over the country.  I am going to share with you a whole bunch of examples below, but first I wanted to mention the snow and bitterly cold air that are rolling through the middle of the nation right now

A wintry weather pattern that brought single-digit temperatures and more than a foot of snow to parts of the Upper Midwest rolled across a wide swath of the nation Monday, threatening to break hundreds of records and bring a deep freeze as far south as Florida.

“The coldest surge of arctic air so far this season will bring widespread record low temperatures for much of the central and eastern U.S. even down to the Gulf Coast,” said Kwan-Yin Kong, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

We are being told that “more than 300 daily records” are likely to be broken, and this will be the final nail in the coffin for this harvest season for countless numbers of farmers.

And even without this latest wave of bitterly cold weather, this was already going to be the worst year for U.S. agriculture that most people can remember.  The following are 12 examples of the crop disasters that we are witnessing right now…

#1 North Dakota: “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has approved North Dakota’s request for a Secretarial disaster designation for 47 counties related to late season rainfall and the October snowstorm. The declaration came on Friday, Nov. 8, the same day that Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., hosted Bill Northey, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s under secretary for farm production and conservation, to hear from producers at a roundtable and see the impacts of flooding and the early blizzard during a field tour in the Red River Valley.”

#1 Northwest Minnesota: “Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz asked the U.S. agriculture secretary on Thursday to declare a disaster for 12 counties of northwestern Minnesota where farmers are struggling through a very difficult harvest season. The governor said in a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue that unrelenting bad weather has come on top of challenges farmers were already facing from low commodity prices and trade uncertainties. He told Purdue how the region’s crops have fallen victim to flooding, disease and freezing temperatures, leaving many producers unable to harvest them.”

#1 Iowa: “Last week, according to the Iowa weekly growing season report for the week ending Nov. 3, Iowa’s average temperature was 33 degrees, 12.6 degrees below normal, and with the southerly dip in the jet stream came multiple fast-moving winter-type systems through Iowa during the week, bringing a statewide average of 2.4 inches of snow. Mason City farmer Kevin Pope said with the early snow, all harvest has been halted.”

#1 Ohio: Three local counties are among the 14 in Ohio that the United States Department of Agriculture said are primary natural disaster areas. Champaign, Clark and Miami counties were added to a growing list of designated primary natural disaster areas, which means farmers in those counties can apply for disaster loans. Farmers are eligible only if they suffered a 30% loss in crop production or a physical loss of livestock, livestock products and real estate.

Comment by Starr DiGiacomo on October 4, 2019 at 5:59am

Copied from Sociological Changes blog

Comment by Juan F Martinez 9 hours ago

Food Crisis 2019: It’s Looking Bad, Bad, Bad at a Global Level

  As shown in an article by CNBC, China’s hog herd may drop by 55% from fatal swine fever. Knowing that China is the #1 pork producer. That’s a pretty devastating news. To add fuel to the fire, the deadly African Swine Fever has currently been testified in 36 countries around the world, spreading all over Southeast Asia, through parts of Europe, and has been found in Africa too.

Unusually long-lasting and deadly monsoons in India are leading to widespread crop failures in the nation. India is one of the top exporters of onions globally, selling 2.2 billion kilograms overseas. After the prolonged monsoon rains, India has decided to ban its onion export. The extended monsoon has also damaged key kharif crops, including pulses, oilseeds and cotton, as well as soy beans in India. Since September 2019, food prices have soared by more than 200% in the country.

Australia will be hit by unusually high temperatures and dry weather in the next 3 months. And this is really bad for its already struggling agricultural sector. Australia’s wheat exports are in real bad shape and the future isn’t bright at all.

And it is not looking better for Indonesia, where wildfires, smoke and drought are inflicting an increasingly painful toll on its agriculture, hurting everything from oil palm plantations to rubber trees and rice fields. Indonesia is the world’s top producer of palm oil and second-largest supplier of rubber.

The orange greening disease which is on track to destroy Florida’s orange crop (#1 citrus producer in the U.S.) has now finally reached California, the nation’s #2 citrus producer.

I am not sure about updates from the U.S. Midwest crop which was significantly delayed in planting because of flooding this spring, but the rare October heatwave in the Southeast and Midwest threatens crops, with some total losses reported in South Carolina. Meanwhile, the price of soy bean soars in the U.S.

If you missed this one, there is a fatal banana fungus that which will inevitably wipe out Cavendish banana crop likely within 10 years.

https://strangesounds.org/2019/10/food-crisis-food-shortage-world-b...

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/03/african-swine-fever-chinas-pig-popu...

Comment by KM on April 12, 2019 at 5:07pm

Source

2019 is the year when the farming industry began to unravel as extreme weather and disease is hitting already stressed farmers around the world

Photo Wikipedia showing the Mozambique flooding 2019

2019, will be the year when the farming industry began to unravel as China, who produce half of the world's pork is set to drop by almost one-third because 200 million pigs are to be culled or die from being infected as African swine fever spreads through the country.
According to Rabobank, China’s pork production is seen at around 38 million tonnes in 2019 versus 54 million tonnes last year, Sherrard told Reuters, citing the company’s latest forecast.
That would be the lowest level in at least 20 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics data, with repercussions across the global market for all animal proteins.
The decline would be nearly 30 per cent larger than annual output in the United States and equivalent to Europe’s yearly pork supply, Rabobank said.
The United States Department of Agriculture has forecast a smaller decline in China’s pork output this year, of around 10 per cent.

Credit myrichmblog.wordpress.com 2019 is now officially the worst agricultural disaster in modern American history with catastrophic flooding.
The US is experiencing unprecedented and catastrophic flooding with NOAA issuing a warning the flooding will continue through to the end of June.
With more than 90% of the upper midwest and great planes still covered by nearly 11 inches of snow and all that snow is beginning to melt.
That means the US will transform from one of the worst winters in modern history into a flood season that has already taken an apocalyptic turn for farmers across the US.
Millions of acres of farmland are already under water meaning thousands of farmers will not be able to plant crops this summer, with thousands of more farmers who have been financially ruined by the floods and will never return to farming again.

I Australia, after years of drought, 2019, has delivered the hottest January ever, the wettest February ever, the hottest start to Autumn in 30 years and the hottest March heatwave in 52 years hitting already struggling Aussie farmers hard.
Thousands of cattle were lost in the first three months of this year.

In the first 4 months of 2019, heatwaves in the southern hemisphere are killing wildlife ‘on a biblical scale’ from record-breaking heat.
Record heat in Australia, Chile, Argentina and Brazil with NASA and NOAA claiming the last 5 years have been the warmest since modern records began.
The intense heat in Uruguay that affected the country in 2019 did not affect only human beings, who persistently complained about the thermal sensations through social networks, chicken farmers, in particular, suffered the heat stroke in its economy when more than 100,000 chickens died by high temperatures in Montevideo,
Thousands of cattle died as temperatures hit 45 deg C, (110 deg F) early in 2019 in Argentina.
High temperatures, humidity and the suspicion of toxins in the food as a predisposing factor caused the death of thousands of cattle in at least four Santa Fe feedlots, Argentina at the beginning of  2019.

Iran's farmers have had farms destroyed by unprecedented floods which have killed more than 70 people, destroyed or damaged 100,000 homes and damaged one-third of the country's roads. thousands of cattle are thought to have been killed in the floods.

2019, South-East Africa.
It has been described as a 'disaster on a scale we have ever experienced'
The full scope of devastation across three African nations may not be known for months to come after the Cyclone Idai death toll approaches 1,000.
As well as the immediate threat caused by flooding, hunger and illness are growing concerns, with crops and wildlife destroyed and waterborne diseases likely to spread.

Comment by Howard on March 31, 2019 at 5:29am

At Least 1 Million Acres Of US Farmland Devastated By Floods (Mar 30) 

We have never seen anything like this before.

According to satellite data that was just released by Reuters, “at least 1 million acres of U.S. farmland” were covered by water for at least seven days this month. That is an agricultural disaster without equal in modern American history.

Farming communities all over the central part of the nation now look like war zones as a result of all this flooding. And with more flooding on the way for the next two months, this crisis is only going to get worse.

This is the time of year when farmers are gearing up to plant wheat, corn and soybeans, and now a substantial portion of our farmland will not be able to be used at all this year. According to Reuters, at least a million acres of farmland were covered by floodwaters for at least seven days this month, and that “will likely reduce corn, wheat and soy production this year”…

At least 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of U.S. farmland were flooded after the “bomb cyclone” storm left wide swaths of nine major grain producing states under water this month, satellite data analyzed by Gro Intelligence for Reuters showed.

Farms from the Dakotas to Missouri and beyond have been under water for a week or more, possibly impeding planting and damaging soil. The floods, which came just weeks before planting season starts in the Midwest, will likely reduce corn, wheat and soy production this year.

And with “as many as a million calves” lost to the flooding, a lot less food than anticipated is going to be produced in the United States for the foreseeable future.

Between March 8th and March 21st, almost 1.1 million acres of cropland and over 84,000 acres of pastureland were covered by water for at least a week. With more rain on the way, it is essentially going to be impossible for most of those acres to be usable this year.

In Iowa, 474,271 acres were covered by floodwaters for at least seven days in March, and Iowa farmers are facing some very tough deadlines. Corn must be planted by May 31st and soybeans must be planted by June 15th in order to qualify for flood insurance. For most Iowa farms that were covered by floodwaters, that is going to be impossible.

Overall, the recent flooding caused “at least $3 billion” in economic damage according to authorities, but many believe that the final number will be far higher.

Thousands upon thousands of farms have been completely destroyed, and thousands upon thousands of farmers will not plant any crops at all this year.

In addition to the vast agricultural devastation that we have witnessed, thousands upon thousands of homes have been destroyed as well, and now the National Ground Water Association is warning that “the safety of more than a million private water wells” could be compromised

Record flooding in the Midwest is now threatening the safety of more than a million private water wells. The National Ground Water Association estimates that people living in more than 300 counties across 10 states have their groundwater threatened from bacterial and industrial contamination carried by flood waters.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. According to the NOAA, we are entering an “unprecedented flood season” that could potentially “impact an even bigger area of cropland”…

Spring floods could yet impact an even bigger area of cropland. The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned of what could be an “unprecedented flood season” as it forecasts heavy spring rains. Rivers may swell further as a deep snow pack in northern growing areas melts.

From the Central Plains to the Midwest, it has been a disastrous spring for river flooding. A weather system slated to bring more heavy rains Friday into Saturday could aggravate the situation along and near the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

It’s a one-two punch that combines additional rainwater with fresh runoff from snowmelt. Perhaps worst off is Nebraska, in the direct path of Friday’s quick burst of moisture. Barely a week has passed since Gov. Pete Ricketts estimated the cost of ongoing flooding in that state at more than $1 billion.

This is already the worst agricultural disaster in modern American history, and federal authorities are telling us that we should expect things to continue to get worse for at least two more months.

Source

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/midwest-apocalypse-acco...

Comment by KM on December 4, 2018 at 2:09am

https://www.ctvnews.ca/business/potato-shortage-looms-due-to-harves...

Potato shortage looms due to 'harvest from hell' after unseasonable weather

Farmers across Canada left thousands of acres of potato crops unharvested after a slew of bad weather created challenging conditions, setting the stage for a possible shortage of the starchy dinner table staple.

"It's unprecedented. Never, never before have I seen this in my time," said Kevin MacIsaac, general manager of the United Potato Growers of Canada (UPGC), an organization that provides industry information to help farmers make production and marketing decisions. He's been with the organization for seven years and, before that, grew potatoes in Prince Edward Island, where he still lives.

In typical years, one area of the country may suffer from a bad harvest, while others do OK, he said, but this year, the problems span almost all the way across the country.

Farmers abandoned about 16,000 acres of potato crop, according to the group's most recent estimate, which did not include figures for Saskatchewan, Ontario or Nova Scotia, but indicated they also suffered some losses. B.C. is the only province that did not mention abandoned crops in UPGC's report.

The group expects to have more precise figures soon, MacIsaac said, but is working with the best information it has now.

P.E.I., the country's largest potato producer, suffered the most.

Farmers left about 6,800 acres unharvested. In a typical year, some 500 to 1,000 acres may be abandoned, said Greg Donald, general manager of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board, which represents the province's nearly 170 growers.

The weather this year in the province was relentless.

First came a lacklustre growing season, with a late spring and hot, dry summer, said Donald, which was followed by an early frost in September that killed any future growth potential.

Then came copious amounts of rain, which delayed the end of harvest beyond the usual Halloween target date, and farmers pushed into November.

In early November, it rained one day and the ground froze solid the next, he said, meaning farmers could no longer dig for potatoes.

"Many have described it as the harvest from hell," he said.

Unusual weather caused other provinces to suffer similar setbacks.

In Manitoba, some 5,200 acres remain unharvested, according to UPGC. While the province's prospects for a good yield were strong going into harvest, rainfall followed by a cold spell resulted in thousands of abandoned acres, said MacIsaac.

Most farmers will have some type of insurance to cover a portion of their costs associated with the lost income, but it won't cover the profit they would have made, he said.

The thousands of unharvested acres could mean a shortage of processing potatoes (those used to make products like french fries and hash browns) and table potatoes (those sold whole in grocery stores), both men said.

"It's going to be a real, you know, challenge," said Donald, adding there's not going to be enough local supply for the markets the province typically serves.

Compounding the problem is a similar situation in parts of the U.S., as well as parts of Europe where a dry season hurt yields, making for a more global shortfall.

While some growing areas in North America may have a shortage, others will have a surplus that can balance that out, said Terence Hochstein, executive director of the Potato Growers of Alberta.

His province abandoned about 1,000 acres, he said, which is more than he'd like, but pretty typical. It was able to send some potatoes to P.E.I. and Alberta to help, he said.

"Overall, I think the crop is going to be tight, but I think the industry will be alright."

Still, consumers could ultimately see price hikes on potato products due to basic supply and demand principles.

When there's less of a product, it's going to be reflected in the price, Donald said, adding even the potatoes that have been harvested are not quite safe yet.

Potatoes are mostly water and harvesting them in wet conditions adds the risk of bringing extra moisture into storage, making them more difficult to dry and keep, he said.

"So that's still a big concern as well."


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

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-12/gas-deliveries-r...

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.”


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