Drought Watch – October 7, 2010

In today’s edition of Drought Watch we check out conditions in the U.S. and then take a look at the rest of the world.

This week’s U.S. Drought Watch Winner is Central Louisiana, which has gone without rain for more than a month.  What started out as a blessing – dry conditions for cotton picking this summer – is becoming a concern this fall as winter approaches and ground moisture has not been able to recharge for the next growing season.  Local firefighters are also on alert as high winds combined with the dry conditions have caused multiple bushfires, typically caused by trash burning or the flicking of cigarettes into dry grass.

Globally, northeastern Russia continues to experience the worst drought the country has seen in at least 50 years, though Russia’s Grain Union has said the drought is the worst since record-keeping started 130 years ago.  The country’s wheat farmers have been hit hardest as crop yields have fallen and the ongoing drought may mean that farmers will be unable to plant their winter crop.

Russia is the world’s 4th largest exporter of grain, behind the U.S., the E.U., and Canada, and any reduction in their grain exports could cause food riots to break out in countries that depend on access to cheap grain to feed their populations.  The price of grain has been steadily rising, an opportunity that farmers in Louisiana and other currently drought-stricken agricultural areas may unfortunately be unable to take advantage of.


Global price of wheat over the past 12 months


“Central Louisiana is ‘very dry'” by Jeff Matthews
“Worst Russian Drought in 50 Years Threatens Next Year’s Crop” by Maria Kolesnikova


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