As many farmers revise their marketing plan for both the old and new crops, weather will be a critical aspect for the 2013 growing season.

Currently the El Niño-La Niña climate forces are locked in neutral. (Note the black line with the black squares and the last one firmly planted at zero.) Neither one has any advantage over the other; and it has been that way for four consecutive months. The authority on that for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it is as solidly neutral as it has ever been and it will be a few months before there will be a return to either El Niño or a La Niña.

But what is neutral weather. That is what we had after La Niña phased itself out last May and there were no significant weather fronts that moved across the country to release energy and moisture from the atmosphere. So our weather transmission is in neutral for the foreseeable future.


Read the January 8 WAOB summary with drought monitor and drought predictions.


The drought continues according to USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey with 61% of the U.S. in a drought category, down from the 65% in September. But he says the region experiencing the worst drought category has expanded to 6.75% of the U.S., as reflected by the latest issue of the University of Nebraska Drought Monitor

Currently, drought encompasses over 2/3 of the U.S. cattle inventory and 60% of domestic hay acreage. The wheat crop is rated poor to very poor for 61% of Oklahoma, 49% of Nebraska and 31% of Kansas. Rippey says the Palmer Drought Index in July was 62.1%, second only to the 79.9% in the July 1934 Dust Bowl era.

The challenge for farmers will be how weather and marketing risk is managed. The spring guarantees for crop insurance will be set during the month of February, and crop insurance sign-up is from March 1 to March 15, if you are a first timer, or are changing your arrangements. 



While USDA reported that grain stocks will be tight, global demand is being re-focused from the U.S. to South American supplies and U.S. exports are expected to soon diminish in their volume. However, the 2013 crop will soon be planted, and prices could be substantially lower than the 2012 crop with larger production anticipated. Weather risk will have to be managed and eastern Corn Belt farmers have had more moisture than those to the west. Crop insurance remains an option for all, and the sign-up deadline is March 15 for spring-planted row crops.


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