Mother Nature is hell this week, especially for American farmers and ranchers.
A heat wave has descended on U.S. cropland and pastures, with no relief expected until the weekend.
The hot weather was stressing the pollinating corn crop, and putting grasslands and cattle under duress. Temperatures should cool by the weekend, an agricultural meteorologist forecast Wednesday.
“It’s still hot and humid and it will stay that way this week, a little cooler by the weekend and a few showers can be expected then,” predicted John Dee of Global Weather Monitoring.
He said temperatures would remain in the mid to upper 90s Fahrenheit to low 100s F throughout the Midwest and cool down to the mid to upper 80s F by early next week. Light showers were also forecast for next week.
“There will be some rainfall, mostly 0.2 to 0.6 inch up to an inch in some areas and about 65 per cent coverage,” he said. The bulk of the rainfall will be in the northern and eastern Midwest.
An atmospheric high pressure ridge hanging over the Midwest was blocking moisture from moving into the crop belt, as well as causing a buildup of heat.
The hot weather was not only stressing crops and reducing production prospects, but endangering livestock and humans exposed to the searing temperatures.
Updated midday forecasts indicated the ridge would weaken next week, meaning less extreme heat in the Midwest and a better chance of rains.
“The ridge was reduced in amplitude. It was weakened,” said Drew Lerner, a meteorologist with World Weather Inc in Kansas City, referring to the midday run of the U.S. computer-based forecasting model.
“The bottom line is it’s a little less hostile,” Lerner said. However, he cautioned, “I think the model may be a little on the wet side. I don’t think we have seen the last of the ‘ridginess’ on these forecast model runs.”
Dee concurred on the changes in the midday forecast model.
“If you take it word for word, it was a meaningful change. Personally I’d want to see other models verify this,” Dee said.
Chicago Board of Trade wheat rose on Wednesday but corn fell on profit-taking, retreating from its early advance on weather worries. Ideas that the hot weather and periodic power shortages might slow ethanol production also weighed on corn.
Telvent DTN forecast the very hot temperatures would be followed by cooler weather from the weekend through early next week, but then hot weather would return.