California is the biggest U.S. producer of agricultural products. It’s also in its third year of drought, with 95% of the state in moderate to exceptional drought conditions. Food prices have already risen as a result, but there are likely even higher prices to come. Oh, and the rivers are so dry salmon are being driven to the sea in tanker trucks.
U.S. ending stocks numbers for corn and soybeans have become available for year end 2012, and the results are stunning. According to the data, we will have only 19 days of corn in storage this year and only 16 days of soybeans. For soybeans, this is the lowest stocks-to-use ratio on record; for corn it’s the second lowest.
While the big weather news this fall focused on Hurricane Sandy, the drought of 2012 continues to affect more than 60 percent of the United States and is forecast to continue through at least March 2013, affecting food production, food prices, and shipping prices.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created the animation below to show the affects of the historic 2012 drought on vegetation month by month. It’s eerie to watch the dying vegetation spread across the country. You can also see how the first half of July has seen an acceleration of burned-out vegetation brought on by high temperatures and by the length of the drought.