HEAVY RAINS ACROSS UNITED STATES - HOW DOES THIS AFFECT FARMING?
April showers have been crossing over into May and June, and it significantly affects U.S. agriculture.
Many of you probably had to rush into work this morning to avoid getting soaked by rainfall. Such is the case over many areas of the United States the last few months. It's quite easy for us to complain (or for some, praise) high rainfall levels, especially those of us who mostly work indoors. However, many Americans' livelihoods are tied to the weather. One group that feels particularly anxious around this time of year is farmers.
When rain hits an area, it can be a wonderful thing initially, allowing crops to thrive; but as those levels sustain over time, it can be a hindrance to many in the agricultural field.
For the month of May (and most of June), the continental United States has received record levels of precipitation - an average of 4.36 inches across the board. Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado set record totals for the month of May, and 17 other states were wetter than average. In fact, 37.4% of the country was in a state of draught earlier this Spring, but that fell to less than 25% by June and it continues to roll.
Of course, that doesn't mean that all states felt the impact of rainfall. California, and other areas of the Southwest, continues to be affected by the terrible drought. They undoubtedly would trade away the multitude of drought issues in order to share in this problem.
So what does heavy rainfall mean for our nation's food producers? As country music star Luke Bryan says, "Rain is a good thing". However, too much of a good thing can often be a bad thing.
These wet lands can become extremely unfavorable to farm. Not only does it make machine operation more difficult, but waterlogged soil prevents plants from getting the oxygen and nutrients they need at their roots. Crops are grown on a very tight schedule, and farmers depend on producing high yields in a relatively short amount of time during the growing season. Too much rain, and that entire schedule can be thrown off.
Many have to even contend with the dilemma of replanting or moving on with extremely diminished yields.
Ranchers are affected by this as well. Many feed their livestock with hay, and wet hayfields limit the amount of available harvest days. Heavy, sustained rainfall prevents hay from being dry enough to be cut and baled.
Weather problems are not an issue for all areas of the country, so we'd like to hear from the farmers out there.
How has this season affected your production, either negatively or positively?