La Niña leads to record-dry weather in mid-U.S. plains in August

Foreign media, September 18 news: American agricultural meteorologist Bryce Anderson wrote on Friday that most of Nebraska set record dry weather in August, and the central plains and western Midwest of the United States were also very Dry, mainly due to dry weather triggered by La Niña, which continues to weigh on crop yield prospects.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly weather and crop report as of September 13 showed that at 28:00 on August 28, the proportion of poor corn and soybean ratings in the United States did not exceed 20%, of which corn was 19% and soybean was 13%. The corn belt, which has hotter and drier weather, has a much higher percentage of badly rated crops. In Nebraska, for example, at the end of August, 34% of corn had poor ratings, and 28% of soybeans. In fact, in central and western Nebraska, rainfall totaled less than 0.5 inch throughout August. In northern, south-central and western Kansas, August’s rainfall was among the 10 driest Augusts on record.

Yield prospects for corn and soybeans have been weighed down by dry, high temperatures, and even more drought-tolerant crops such as sorghum and cotton. At the end of August, 44 percent of U.S. sorghum and 36 percent of cotton were rated poor. The USDA currently forecasts U.S. sorghum production at 196 million bushels, down 44 percent from a year earlier; yields are forecast at 46 bushels per acre, the lowest since 1974. This is important information because sorghum is a well-known drought-tolerant crop capable of producing under harsh conditions; however, even this drought-tolerant crop will not be immune to drought and heat in 2022. Reduced sorghum production means fewer crops available for feed in plains livestock areas, and drought has also reduced corn and wheat yields, with crops in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas Total production will be 800 million bushels less than last year.

In the case of La Niña, water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are still cooling. Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SST) in the central and eastern tropical Pacific remain cooler than normal, consistent with weak La Niña conditions, the International Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) said in a report. The 30-day average of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) on Friday (September 16) was positive at 10.98, an indicator of a weak La Niña. The 90-day mean of the SOI was positive 11.13, further suggesting that La Niña continues. Persistent La Niña conditions suggest that autumn rains will be difficult for the central and southern plains. Weather forecasts for next week point to some rain, but not enough to make up for a historic drought in the summer of 2022.