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Canadian canola fields. Image: NASA Earth Observatory
by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer
As summer approaches, the Northern Plains of the United States and the Canadian Prairies, which are the world’s key growing regions for canola and spring wheat, are experiencing a record-breaking drought.
Now, farmers fear that these parched fields won’t yield enough crop to satisfy unusually high demand. This fear is compounded as an increasing share of wheat is exported to China for animal feed leaving a smaller supply.
Why this Matters: In 2017, the Northern Plains were hit with a similar flash drought that, as NOAA described, without warning, desiccated pastures, rangelands, and wheat, sparking massive wildfires and causing widespread livestock sell-offs across the Dakotas, northeastern Montana, and the Canadian Prairies. Three months after its onset, the drought was relieved by soaking September rains, but not before it inflicted $2.6 billion in economic losses on the region.
According to the agency, climate change could make these types of events more likely, which could significantly impact agriculture and food supplies.
Under the Weather: To cope with the drought, farmers are planting less canola, especially because the dusty, arid soil can erode with the wind, preventing canola seeds from germinating. Instead, farmers plan to cede some of their land to grow soybeans, which are more drought-resistant and can be planted in June without needing to till the soil.
“I guess we seed in faith, hoping it’s going to rain,” Steven Donald, a fourth-generation member of a family-owned grain and cattle farm in Saskatchewan, told Reuters. “It’s the driest that we can remember.”
by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Extreme weather and permanent droughts are sweeping across the Western U.S., and with them comes an increasing demand for A/C and power. But cooling buildings through increasingly severe heatwaves takes a significant toll on power grids, and a new study has found that a significant heatwave blackout in three major American cities […]
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Rescue efforts are underway across several islands in eastern Indonesia and East Timor after Tropical Cyclone Seroja struck the region last week. The storm’s heavy rains and powerful winds led to flash flooding and landslides, damaging homes and roads. At least 8,424 people have been displaced by the storm, […]
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