Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Extreme Dought

Today is Memorial Day 2011. We are in an "extreme drought" by definition. You don't have to have any definitions to realize the situation is bad.

They had predicted rain for the end of last week but what rain we got was light or non-existent and the drought continues at a time when we need to be planting our crops.

The major task farmers found themselves doing during the holiday weekend was irrigating where systems are in place. Corn and cotton are occupying the majority of irrigated acres. An ag chemical salesman suggested to me peanut acres will be just slightly over 400,000 acres in Georgia if the weather does not break. If this comes to pass we will most definitely see 1990 highs for peanut prices. Farmers who have not contracted may find the loan a very viable option. It has actually worked for farmers who waited to put peanuts in the loan after January 1, the past two years.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heat and Drought Continue

This is sort of a good news bad news story.

I was speaking to a farmer who had dusted in some cotton and got about two tenths of rain. That was enough to sprout it but not to get it all up to a stand. So, he had to re-plant. Now the weather forecast is for rain but only a tenth of an inch. If that happens he may be in the same situation.

I was in a prayer breakfast this morning at the local Farm Service Center in Tift County. Farmers are upbeat in public as they usually are. Still there was a lot of discussion of being testy and hard to get along with. There was discussion of wells running dry.

Another farmer from about 90 miles as the crow flies from Tifton told me he has a pond he is pumping water in to and out of to irrigate and he can't keep up. He is about 6 inches from the pond being too low to pump from.

Still, I have faith the Lord will send us what we need. In 2007 it happened on June 2nd.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Record Which Can't Be Broken

I was listening to the weatherman on WALB in Albany this morning and he says the rainfall in the gauge in Albany is currently at zero for May and with no rainfall expected the balance of the month we could set a new record for the driest May on record.

There is only one good thing I can see out of this situation and that is the record can never be broken, only tied.

We are in a serious rainfall deficit and the economic ramifications are going to be serious if something does not change.

In Sunday School yesterday we discussed the difference in the flooding in Louisiana and the drought here. The flooding is swift and very obvious. A prolonged drought is different. It happens a little bit at a time and never seems to get much media.

We decided we needed to name this so we are calling it the "frog in the kettle" disaster. You see if you put a frog in cold water in a pot and then gradually heat the pot up you can cook the frog without him ever jumping out of the pot. It happens a little at a time.

Nothing else seems to be working so we had better pray for rain.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wells Running Dry

I heard my first report this morning of irrigation wells running dry.

Wait, that happens in August or September, right?

Nope it is May and we are dry. Soil moisture below 10% and no rain forecast and on top of that this cool weather should have been before Easter. This morning Crestview FL was cooler than Anchorage AK.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What Rain?

60 percent chance this last Saturday and yet most areas got little to none. At my house once there was a red cell which went right over the house. It never rained from that cell and the radar lied.

Later in the day the breeze picked up and a black cloud was bearing down on us. It never rained.

In a total of four showers we got less than one one hundredth of an inch of rain.

The Albany weatherman this morning said they missed it and though some areas got some rain they also got hail. Albany has a soil moisture below 10% and the rainfall deficit marches on, now past 6 inches.

Peanut situation is now critical for much of the Georgia Peanut Belt.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Market Uncertainty

Weather uncertainty coupled with the failure of the peanut industry to offer competitive prices for peanuts compared to cotton and corn are setting the peanut market up for a pretty serious roller coaster ride.

There is really no reason at this point for farmers to take a $650 offer for their uncommitted 2010 crop peanuts because they are going to only go up in value from this point.

2011 plantings are being hampered by dry weather and will only cause intentions to go down and not up. While cotton seed can be dusted in and wait for rain peanuts must have moisture or they should not be planted.

Predictions for a couple days of rain for the weekend are now down to a day of showers which may not provide much relief to the drought.

The annual rainfall deficit passed six inches and the drought has now been upgraded to Severe to even Extreme in the entire Georgia Peanut Belt.

I have said before and will say again...somebody is going to do without peanuts before the 2012 harvest and they might do with out even before then.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hot and Dry

It is hot and dry and considering the fact farmers were already pointed toward non-irrigated acres to plant peanuts this year is only getting more interested.

It might be better for a producer to take prevented planted credit on his crop insurance and just leave the land idle if this pattern persists.

The rainfall deficit now exceeds 6 inches on the year and there is no moisture without irrigation in which to plant right now.

The State Climatologist says this weather pattern will remail in place at least until August.

I spoke with one farmer who has uncommitted 10 crop peanuts in the loan and I told him to be patient. If it doesn't rain soon they might be worth $1000 by October.