Skip to comments.Corn belt moving northward with climate change
Posted on 10/21/2012 7:04:51 AM PDT by Oldeconomybuyer
Joe Waldman is saying goodbye to corn after yet another hot and dry summer convinced him that rainfall won't be there when he needs it anymore.
"I finally just said uncle," said Mr. Waldman, 52, surveying his stunted crop about 100 miles north of Dodge City, Kansas. Instead, he will expand sorghum, which requires less rain; let some fields remain fallow; and restrict corn to irrigated fields.
Shifts such as these reflect a view among food producers that this summer's drought in the United States -- the worst in half a century -- isn't a random disaster. It's a glimpse of a future altered by climate change that will affect worldwide production.
"These changes are happening faster than plants can adapt, so we will see substantial impacts on global growing patterns," said Axel Wanker-Schmidt, a former senior scientist for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture now with Catholic Relief Services.
(Excerpt) Read more at post-gazette.com ...
There used to be orange groves in north Florida, at least for a decade or so. The weather was warmer in the 30s and there were some groves up near Jacksonville and in the Fla panhandle north of Panama City. Then the weather returned to normal, they had a few severe cold snaps and orange crops were ruined. I suspect the same will happen to these corn growers who are trying to expand out of the normal range.
Some just don’t learn their history. Hang in there dude, an unusually wet period is coming. Don’t farrow anything, just plant grasses.
From Wikipedia. Geez, just how tough is this history thingy anyway? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl
During early European and American exploration of the Great Plains, the region in which the Dust Bowl occurred was thought unsuitable for European-style agriculture; the region was known as the Great American Desert. The lack of surface water and timber made the region less attractive than other areas for pioneer settlement and agriculture. Following the Civil War, settlement was encouraged by the Homestead Act, the transcontinental railroad, and waves of new immigrants, and cultivation increased. An unusually wet period in the Great Plains mistakenly led settlers and the federal government to believe that “rain follows the plow” (a popular phrase among real estate promoters) and that the climate of the region had changed permanently. The initial agricultural endeavors were primarily cattle ranching, with some cultivation; however, a series of harsh winters beginning in 1886, coupled with overgrazing followed by a short drought in 1890, led to an expansion of land under cultivation.
Continued waves of immigration from Europe brought settlers to the plains at the beginning of the 20th century. A return of unusually wet weather confirmed a previously held opinion that the “formerly” semiarid area could support large-scale agriculture. Technological improvements led to increase of mechanized plowing, which allowed for cultivation on a greater scale. World War I increased agricultural prices, which also encouraged farmers to dramatically increase cultivation. In the Llano Estacado, the area of farmland doubled between 1900 and 1920, and land under cultivation more than tripled between 1925 and 1930.
The favored agricultural methods of farmers during this period created the conditions for large scale erosion under certain environmental conditions. The widespread conversion of the land by deep plowing and other soil preparation methods to enable agriculture virtually eliminated the native grasses which held the soil in place and helped retain moisture, even during dry periods. Furthermore, cotton farmers left fields bare over winter months, when winds in the High Plains are highest, and burned the stubble as a means to control weeds prior to planting, thus depriving the soil of organic nutrients and surface vegetation.
The environmental conditions created when severe drought struck the Great Plains region in the 1930s exposed the increased risk for erosion that was created by the farming practices in use at the time. The drought dried the topsoil and over time it became friable, reduced to a powdery consistency in some places. Then, without the indigenous grasses in place, during the drought, the high winds that commonly occur on the plains created the massive duststorms that marked the Dust Bowl period.
One of Peggy Bundy’s family? I though they were all in Wisconsin.
You mean he decided for himself what would be the best crop to grow based on his personal experience of the local weather patterns?
He should let some bureaucrat in washington tell him what to grow. They are so wise.
This story is just BS.
Corn-growing areas are expanding because of high commodity corn prices and by selectively breeding corn for shorter growing seasons. The same reason any crops increase areas of production.
Acres in corn peaked a hundred years ago and production switched to areas best able to produce, but commodity corn can be grown in 95-day (or less) growing season.
That area has always tended to be dry and unsuitable for corn without access to irrigation.
I’m sure that this is now the fault of Bush, right wing extremists and SUVs.
You mean to tell me that the weather changes . . . and then . . . it changes back?
Wow. Who'd a thought?
Thirty six years ago PROGRESSIVE FARMER magazine had an article on how corn grown in Illinois would now be grown in Alabama as the coming ICE AGE was going to make the northern corn growing states too cold for corn.
Most of the scientific magazines, at that time, were pushing the ICE AGE theory.
Crucified Land by Alexander Hogue
Olivia Hogue, he daughter of Alexander Hogue, was my first art teacher in college.
Totalitarians have been using any wacky theory they can to seize power and crush individualism for thousands of years.
In the old days it was “Divine Right of Kings”. These days it is “Climate Change”.
In the old days it was justified by witch doctors or priests. Today they fund and parade out the “scientists”.
Believe them at your peril.