Hot 5: Midwest Drought 2012. Corn Usage Pie Charts. Vilsack Comic. CC Precipitation Maps. Faraday Porteur. 6 Replies 1. Midwest Drought 2012 MODIS Map via NASA Satellite The above photo is a vegetation anomaly map based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The map contrasts plant health in the central United States between June 25 and July 10, 2012, against the average conditions between 2002 and 2012. Brown areas show where plant growth was less vigorous than normal; cream colors depict normal levels of growth; and green indicates abnormally lush vegetation. Data was not available in the gray areas due to snow or cloud cover. The image is based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of how much plant leaves absorb visible light and reflect infrared light. Drought-stressed vegetation reflects more visible light and less infrared than healthy vegetation. The most severe damage to crops appears to be centered on Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Crops in much of the upper Midwest—southern Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and western Tennessee—also show signs of strain. States in the Mountain West that are in the midst of a busy wildfire season—Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado—have also experienced marked declines in the health of vegetation. The drought has been less severe in Iowa, a key corn-growing state. According to a recent IPCC report on extreme weather, there is “medium confidence” that droughts have grown longer and more severe in some parts of the world since 1950, particularly in southern Europe and West Africa. However, the trends appear to be the reverse for droughts in central North America and northwestern Australia. Overall, the scientists who prepared the IPCC report assert a medium level of confidence in their ability to attribute observed changes in drought patterns to human activity. source: NASA __________________________________________________________ PBS Newshour 7/17/2012 2. Graphics Showing the Breakdown of Corn Use in the United States Plus the World’s Major Corn Importers and Exporters The United States produced 36 percent of the world’s corn in 2011 (that percentage has been steadily falling). Last year’s corn crop in the U.S. was worth $76.62 billion at an average price per bushel of $6.20. Due to this year’s drought, traders are expecting a corn yield under 140 bushels per acre as compared to a final average yield of 147 last year. Serbia, Argentina, and Kazakhstan will also have reduced corn crops this year due to weather. Increased production is expected from the EU, Brazil, and Canada. I put together these three graphics to help us understand where the give and take will have to occur due to a reduced global corn crop. Livestock producers will bear the brunt of the drought and are not protected by crop insurance. At the present time, feedlots may be losing $200 per head on liquidated cattle. Over the next few months beef prices will head lower before they go up. Substitution of corn by alternative crops for feed will be part of the scenario. Seven percent of ethanol produced was exported last year (if my calculation was correct) and about 30 percent of the processed corn from ethanol production is recycled back into use as feed for livestock. Here in the U.S. it is estimated that a 50% increase in the price of field corn might raise the cost of food by one percent. The price we pay to the farmer for our overly processed and packaged food in this country is a small percent of our food costs even though some say that corn is present in 75 percent of our foods. Note that these next two charts show what was anticipated for the marketing year beginning 10/01/11 and ending 9/30/12. Because of the drought, these will change. Pie Chart Showing Breakdown of Top Corn Importers Pie Chart Showing Breakdown of Top Corn Exporters 3. Vilsack’s Whitehouse Speech Parody 4. U.S. Precipitation Map Changes (Year 2030) Under Four Different Climate Change Models This month, for what it’s worth, the USDA has come out with a publication titled “Agricultural Adaptation to a Changing Climate – Economic and Environmental Implications Vary by U.S. Region” [pdf here]. I’ve excerpted the four model’s precipitation pattern change maps (below). How much they vary from one another is quite remarkable and stands as a message itself. The one showing temperature changes is also worth reviewing. Change in annual precipitation (millimeters), from the baseline under the four climate change scenarios 5. The Faraday Porteur Electric Bike Sorry Ag-news-junkies. I know this is off-topic but I’m a connoisseur of cool bicycles and smart energy efficient solutions. This is a lithium ion battery electric assist bicycle that is being perfected after winning a bike design competition. It is a steel frame commuter bicycle that is made in the U.S.A. One 45-minute charge gives you ten to fifteen miles of pedal-assisted riding and offers the safety of high intensity LED lights for night-time rides. I like how unobtrusive the battery is. This is a kickstarter project.