By Gary McManus, Oklahoma Climatological Survey
“Agricultural damage in 2012 close to half a billion dollars”
Talking drought yesterday at the Governor’s Water Conference in Tulsa, I was followed a couple of presentations later by Dr. Dave Shideler of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University. They are the group that led the effort to estimate the monetary damages to agriculture from last year’s drought (really last year’s *WATER YEAR*, which runs from Oct. 1, 2010-Sept. 30, 2011). If you will remember, that estimate was approximately $1.6 billion dollars.
He released the number for the 2011-12 Water Year yesterday at $427,460,930. That places the two-year damage estimate to agriculture alone at more than $2 billion dollars. Again, keep in mind that is to agriculture. That doesn’t include damages related to things like tourism, foundation repair, loss of industrial output (e.g., water restrictions to industry), power generation, etc.
As I said a few weeks ago, we are still in the midst of our own multi-billion dollar disaster with no end in sight just yet. We were not heartened by the report on crops and soils from our friends over at the Oklahoma NASS Office:
“A cold front and general rain came through the state over the weekend,
bringing a statewide average of half an inch of rainfall. The
Panhandle received almost no rainfall while the Northeast district
received almost an inch on average. Wind gusts ahead of the front on
Saturday were recorded by Mesonet as high as 67 mph in Kenton and
over 60 mph throughout the Panhandle and northwest Oklahoma.
Sustained winds over 45 mph and as high as 50 mph in Kenton were
recorded as well. The wind and abnormally warm temperatures
continued to affect the small grains and canola trying to emerge.
Overall, crop conditions continued to fall and much more rainfall was
needed to reverse that trend. The condition of small grains has
dampened producer’s hopes for winter grazing. Stock pond levels
remain low and hay production made very little progress. Both topsoil
and subsoil moisture conditions continued to be rated poor to very
Those topsoil conditions are now reported at 92 percent short/very short. The subsoils are even worse at 96 percent short/very short. The wheat crop fell to 38 percent poor/very poor. Pasture and range lands dropped to 76 percent poor/very poor.
Ron Hays of the “Oklahoma Farm Report” interviewed Mike Schulte of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission on the state of this year’s crop. Schulte toured the state and had this to say:
“In southwest and central Oklahoma there are still places where the
moisture maybe didn’t fall in areas that specifically needed it.
Going into winter right now you can look at the crop and see where
maybe it had enough moisture to bring the crop up in those regions
where they’d received rain, but that they didn’t maybe receive up in
the northern parts of the state. Where that crop had sprouted, it
does look like it is going backwards. And, in places, it looks like
it’s curling up and dying out in the field.”