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The Up and Downsides of the U.S. Drought

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posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 10:00 AM
The U.S. drought is pounding down the midwest crops pretty bad. Many are calling it the worst times since the 1930s

Wheat ratings in Kansas, the biggest U.S. producer of winter varieties, fell from a month earlier as the worst drought since the 1930s persists, cutting prospects for crops that are in dormancy for the winter. The crop was rated 20 percent good or excellent as of yesterday, down from 24 percent on Dec. 30, the. Department of Agriculture said today. Little rain has fallen in parts of Kansas since October, National Weather Service data show. The drought has caused storms reminiscent of the Dust Bowl era. Livestock are also being hurt, the USDA said.

Areas like Oklahoma have been hit year after year

In the gently rolling hills of Oklahoma ranch country is a place that has seen more than its share of destructive weather — tornadoes, ice storms and floods, year after year, for half of the last decade. In fact, Caddo County has been declared a federal disaster area nine times since 2007, making it one of the nation's most ill-fated locations. But even here, farmers and ranchers say, no one has endured anything as crippling as the ongoing drought, which has dried out ponds, withered crops in the field and decimated the water table.

River levels are still dangerously low as the Colorado river and Colorado is experiencing an exceptional drought

After a 3-year dry spell, Colorado agriculture producers are anxious to see if springtime will bring much needed precipitation. The drought is causing increased hay prices for farmers. "We're going to need a wet spring, a wet, late winter - we got a long way to go," said State Climatologist Nolan Doesken, who is based out of Colorado State University.

Strangely though there are some happier people with the low level rains

Drought is mostly seen as a bad thing — and for good reason. It dries up crops, destroys landscaping and stops ships from moving. But even the lack of rain clouds has a bright side. Good For Grapes Last summer it seemed like all Midwestern farmers were upset over the lack of rain. But not all of them were; those growing grapes were embracing the drought. John Larson makes wine at Snus Hill Winery in Madrid, Iowa. This time of year, he's not growing grapes but instead mixing wine in giant, silver tanks. While his corn- and soybean-growing neighbors were anxiously watching their thirsty crops, Larson's vineyards were looking great, and his grapes were ripening two to three weeks early.

Drought has also been spurring on research, even in areas like growing rice. Research being done in the U.S. at Florida U

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumed by 3 billion people, rice is arguably the world’s most important food staple, and one reason for its popularity is that rice can be grown under flooded conditions that suppress weeds, making cultivation easier. In some parts of the world, water is in short supply, but farmers often devote what they can to rice farming because the crop is so important. However, research has led to a simple but profound solution that requires less water – growing rice in fields, a practice called aerobic rice production. The practice relies on rainfall plus limited irrigation to meet the plants’ moisture needs. It requires about 40 percent less water than paddy-grown rice, according to a University of Florida study in the current issue of Agronomy Journal.

Thought I would throw at least one good part into the misery that the people of the Midwest are experiencing.
edit on 29-1-2013 by winterkill because: added material

edit on 29-1-2013 by winterkill because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 10:42 AM
reply to post by winterkill

Explanation: S&F!

Great to see a thread showing all sides of the equation! BRILLIANT!

Personal Disclosure: Wish I had some thing to add!
Hmmm maybe if I just water this thread with a bump ... it might grow!?

posted on Jan, 29 2013 @ 05:20 PM
maybe some tears for the farmers and cheers for those beating it. Corny, but some days it must just feel like tears for most of them. If the change in farming practices had not been implemented after 1930, we would be seeing those same dust storms again.

If anyone reading has first hand, on what's happening, please let us know.

posted on Feb, 1 2013 @ 07:07 PM
Saw this from a farmer who wrote george over at urbansurvival

"I am a farmer in NW MO at the Iowa line. Had about 1/2 inch of rain and then several in. of snow. About out of water in ponds and then with the -5 projected tonight, may not be able to chop ice to get to the water . the cows may have to eat snow.May have enough hay till April but the pastures were grubbed to the ground and there will not be grass this spring even if it rains. Come visit us in MO and bring money. Bill"

That's how bad it is

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