Winter storms bring relief to much of U.S. drought area

washington / reuters / Drought-stricken U.S. farmers were given good news by private weather forecaster AccuWeather.

A series of winter storms, which have continued into March, are positive for spring seeding from the Plains to the East Coast, AccuWeather said in its 2013 U.S. spring weather outlook.

“Compared to last year, for the season as a whole, more moisture will be available for agriculture due to lower temperatures and lower evaporation rates from the Mississippi Valley to much of the Atlantic coastal plain,” said the Pennsylvania firm.

With the USDA predicting record-large U.S. corn and soybean crops this year, assuming normal growing conditions, new-crop futures at the CBOT are trading well below old-crop levels.

Parts of California and the Florida peninsula could experience drought or at least drier-than-normal conditions into the first part of the summer. But overall, the severe drought that extended over much of the United States in 2012, and hammered U.S. corn, soybean and wheat growers, is not expected to be repeated.

Winter storms have added up to near-normal snowfall for major cropping areas of the lower Plains through the Midwest and in parts of the Northwest.

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