Texas summer drought affecting corn, sorghum crops

Heat and drought have taken a toll on Texas crop production. Limited production of corn and sorghum and the unknown future have caused prices for those crops to spike, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Mark Welch, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist-grain marketing in the Texas A&M Department of Agricultural Economics, Bryan-College Station, said 2023 crop production for Texas summer-grown crops such as corn and sorghum is better than compared to 2022. However, dry conditions will still take a small toll on producers in certain areas for this year’s harvest.

2023 Summer Drought 

Although much of the state had a decent late winter and early spring rainfall, the 2023 crop production has been “a mixed bag depending on location,” Welch said. The South Texas and Coastal Bend region experienced more rainfall during the early months of 2023, which allowed farmers to gain a head start in crop production.

Central Texas producers did not get the same rainfall as the southern region, which resulted in extreme heat this summer, stunting the growth of crops through sensitive stages.

Panhandle producers, especially corn producers, started irrigating crops during the early summer months. The extreme heat and high winds have made it difficult and expensive for irrigation systems to keep up. Though much is unknown until the completion of harvest in late September and early October, producers are preparing to experience extreme yield loss.

Change in prices

“This summer has been one of volatile and high variable prices,” Welch said.

The basis price, which is the difference between the local cash price and the future market price, for the feed grain markets has held firm throughout the summer, Welch said. And the drought affecting the nation’s Corn Belt has allowed Texas producers who were able to plant their crop in the early planting months, which resulted in good yields, to see a significant increase in prices.  

Texas and other southern states have also experienced a spike in forage prices, such as hay and silage, due to the demand for forage from livestock owners and producers.

Welch said it will be late September or October before it is known what impact the continued heat and drought is having on 2023 production.

Also causing prices to spike is the the war between Russia and Ukraine.

“We have come back down from last year’s pre-war prices, but there is still a big concern of grain prices and exports,” Welch said.  

“Since the outbreak of the war, exports have continued with rising prices. The grain trade initiative has allowed some cargo vessels from Ukraine to export produce, but during the last few weeks, Russia has ended the grain trade initiative, and prices have spiked again. The bottom number will depend on what happens from now until the end of harvest,” Welch said. 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post