Worst U.S. drought in 50 years
The scorching drought in the Midwest has ravaged fields and driven up the price of soybeans, wheat and corn, with domino effects on the cost of meat and other products. Economists fear the drought could impact global food prices since the United States is a major agricultural exporter.
- D4 drought (exceptional).
- D3 drought (extreme).
- D2 drought (severe).
- D1 drought (moderate).
- D0 (abnormally dry).
States with countries designated as primary disaster areas (map)
- 14 billion bushels of corn were expected at the beginning of the season.
- 11 billion bushels are now expected.
- 64% of the contiguous United States is in moderate to exceptional drought.
Temperature outlook, August 2012 (map)
Probability of temperature being above normal.
- D4 drought - 60%.
- D3 drought - 50%.
- D2 drought - 40%.
- D1 drought - 33%.
Cows give less milk in the heat, and what they do produce is lower in proteins and butterfat, meaning it takes more to make cheese and butter - rise.
Precipitation outlook (msp)
Probability of precipitation being:
- Below normal (33%, 40%).
- Above normal (33%, 40%).
U.S. corn producing areas (map)
- Minor growing area.
- Major growing area.
- Drought area.
Expected price increases
- Beef - 4-5%.
- Pork - 2.5% - 3.5%.
- Poultry and eggs - 3-4%.
- Dairy - 3.5-4.5%.
- Fruits and vegetables - 2.8%. Prices not expected to go up, as they are irrigated even in normal weather. Normally, the annual grocery price inflation is about 2.8%.
Wheen feed for livestock is unavailable or too pricey, farmers sell animals for slaughter. Herds shrink in size and prices go up.
SOURCES: USDA; NOAA; U.S. Drought Monitor; Graphic News
Susan Batsford, Graphics Editor, Twitter @SBAISI; Infographic By Megan Dinner/QMI Agency