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Farmers See Mixed Results From Warm Winter Weather

It was an unseasonably warm December in some parts of the Midwest. What does that mean for farmers?

Wet weather has delayed some crops' planting and completely wiped out others.

Warm, wet winter weather has devastated some crops while boosting others across the United States and Canada.

Too Warm, Or Just Warm Enough?

In North Carolina, unseasonably warm and wet weather has taken its toll on soybean crops, which need dry days for picking.

Winter wheat, oats and rye haven’t made it out of the ground, killed off by wet weather. Farmers say it’s too late to plant them now.

As for strawberries, it already feels like spring, which means the plants are blooming too soon.

North Dakota has had the opposite problem. Mild December weather meant 71 percent of the winter wheat is in good condition, and livestock is doing well — 88 percent of cattle and sheep rated good to excellent.

Monoculture Blues

A study by UBC and McGill found that extreme weather affects western farms more acutely than developing nations, due in part to the homogeneity of Midwestern U.S. and western Canadian farms.

In essence, western farms are larger and generally rely on one crop, which can be negatively affected by drought or flooding.

Read More:

  • Weather is giving farmers headaches (News and Observer)
  • Agriculture Department says mild December weather helps North Dakota winter wheat, livestock (Daily Journal)
  • Extreme weather hits western farmers harder than anywhere else in the world, study finds (Vancouver Sun)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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