Texas drought losses pegged at $7.6 billion

college station, texas / Last year’s drought in Texas cost farmers and ranchers a record $7.62 billion, a newly released study says.

“The $7.62-billion mark for 2011 is more than $3.5 billion higher than the 2006 drought loss estimates, which previously was the costliest drought on record,” said David Anderson, a livestock economist with Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

“No one alive has seen single-year drought damage to this extent,” added Travis Miller, AgriLife Extension agronomist.

“Texas farmers and ranchers are not strangers to drought, but the intensity of the drought, reflected in record-high temperatures, record-low precipitation, unprecedented winds coupled with duration – all came together to devastate production agriculture.”

The study pegged livestock losses at $3.2 million, cotton at $2.2 billion, and losses for wheat, corn and hay ranging from $314 million to $750 million.

Dry weather now main concern for European grain farmers

paris / reuters / Grain farmers in western Europe are keeping their eyes on rain forecasts as concerns mount persistent dryness could further cut yields following an unusually cold winter.

In France, groundwater levels are below normal after a dry February accentuated a lack of rainfall since the autumn. However, dry weather has allowed French farmers to sow spring barley and spring wheat on damaged fields worst hit by freezing weather. An estimated 700,000 hectares, or eight per cent of winter grains and oilseeds, may need to be replanted.

In Germany, arctic-style weather earlier this winter may have damaged grain crops more seriously than expected, but the rapeseed outlook remains positive and the harvest may rise 26 per cent from last year.

British crops are in generally good condition but in Spain, the driest winter in 40 years will cut yields of winter grains by 30 to 60 per cent.

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