Looking Hot and Dry
Ask any farmer how their crops are doing and 90% of their response will probably depend on that day's weather - "It's too hot, it's too wet, it's too dry, etc..." While it's nearly impossible to predict hour to hour what the weather might do, there are trends that meteorologists study that can predict weather patterns and predictions for outcomes over a period of time. Recently, Michael Clark, a Meteorologist with BAMWX in Indianapolis presented at an Ag Outlook presentation CNB co-sponsored with Williamson Insurance Agency. His company works with more than 1100 clients in the ag belt, as well as provides forecasts for companies such as Beck Hybrids and the Cincinnati Reds.
Looking at the beginning of 2018 and into the summer months, Clark states there's a remarkable similarity between current patterns and that of 2012 when we saw a drought. The biggest drought before that was 1988, so these are not patterns that happen often. "We look at patterns up to 20,000 feet high, not down to exact locations." He cautions you can't predict locations of weather activity more than a few hours out and notes you shouldn't rely on weather apps on your phone for accurate forecasts. Temperatures have been 6 degrees below average this winter so far which translates into dryer air. "I definitely have concerns for dryness this year," states Clark. He explains we're in a La Nina cycle, which is typically dry and he's seeing ridge patterns in the Deep South indicating a potential drought there, as well as concerns in the corn belt where states such as Kansas have already had 120 days without rain. Based upon analogs they study which monitor years with similar patterns, Clark feels we're facing a hot, dry summer and may battle areas of extreme dryness in the ag belt.
While this may seem concerning, Clark asserts that the amount of rain we see doesn't have as much affect as the timing of when we receive the rain. "Areas such as Iowa were very dry last year, but they received rains at the right time during the growing season and they ended up with record yields." He also attributes the resilience of hybrids with better outcomes with less rain and the advancement that technology allows for less reliance on Mother Nature.
To view his presentation, check out CNB's YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/cnbohio.