Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger
Over at Capital Weather Gang, the always-perceptive Jason Samenow details a recent Twitterspat between Dot Earth’s (aka The New York Times’) Andrew Revkin and Penn State’s Michael Mann over attributing extreme weather events to anthropogenic climate change—tornadoes, in particular.
Revkin tweeted to ask whether the folks who were alluding to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions being behind the major (and deadly) tornado outbreak during the spring of 2011 were willing to attribute the record lack of tornado occurrences during the past 12 months to the same cause.
Revkin could have very well asked this same question about all kinds of bad weather—blizzards, hurricanes, droughts, floods, record heat, record cold, summer in Washington, winter in Chicago, etc.
Used to be, when the weather was bad, folks would logically cite Mark Twain’s “if you don’t like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes.” Now, someone will show up on TV who is quick to point out that this sort of thing “is consistent with” expectations of global warming. These same folks tend nap when the weather is hunky-dory, and to go into hibernation when the extreme weather category of their previous pronouncement has a hiatus.
Since the bang-up year of 2011, the number of tornadoes has dropped off the table, with the last 12 months showing the fewest since systematic observations began in the 1950s.
And like tornados, major hurricane strikes have also become scarce, in fact, they are so in remission that someone might soon announce they have been cured. It has currently been more than 7 years since a Category 3 made landfall in the U.S., the longest time in more than 100 years—and all this when overall hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin has been elevated. Maybe there is something to research that finds that while anthropogenic climate change may increase the frequency of major hurricanes in the Atlantic, it changes the circulation patterns such that they are more likely to remain offshore (see page 30-32 of our comments on the draft National Assessment Report)
But we digress…
Apparently the folks who rally around the anthropogenic climate change/extreme weather linkage don’t like being awoken when all is calm.
In his response tweet, Michael Mann accused Revkin of “concern trolling”—which Samenow kindly defined for us as, in this case, “manufacturing a question to score points with climate change skeptics.”
Mann followed up with “Perhaps Andy ?@Revkin is claiming that the background state of the atmosphere has NOT changed? Is that what he is arguing?”
We are sure that is not what Revkin is arguing at all.
It is true, and Revkin knows this, that human-activity in all its forms exerts some influence on the base state of the atmosphere. So, what?
This does not mean that such an influence is noticeable or even detectable, much less that every time the weather is bad, human activities are to blame.
In fact, in virtually all cases, the magnitude of natural variability is still much larger than the magnitude of the human influence. Nor is the specific impact of the human influence on any weather event ever clear. For example, see our comments about “superstorm” Sandy.
What this does smack of, is pseudoscience—an explanation of things that is not refutable by any conceivable event. Karl Popper famously drew this distinction in his 1957 essay (republished in 1963) Science: Conjectures and Refutations.
If the explanation is that bad weather events serve as evidence that humans have altered the atmospheric base state in such a way as to perceptively influence (make worse) extreme weather events, but that the absence of such events does not serve as counter evidence, then we have a situation where the theory is untestable. Pseudoscience.
Before we should even start to consider taking seriously claims about global warming making things worse, we need to start seeing some predictions about individual events.
Next time there is a discussion about a potential tornado outbreak somewhere in the U.S., we want to see a priori discussions of how anthropogenic climate change will influence the event. For instance, will it lead to 25 tornadoes instead of 23? Will the storms stay on the ground for 15 minutes instead of 14? Will their path length be 12 miles instead of 11? Will they hit the Lazy Acres Trailer park or just skirt by? Will they occur when kids are gathered in the school cafeteria or just after lunch lets out? All these factors, and many orders of magnitude more, collectively determine the impact of the event. And this completely leaves out the confounding influence that there are now more people, with more stuff in potential harm’s way.
Now, you might rightly point out that such predictions are impossible—the atmosphere is too chaotic and our models too coarse to pin down events with such detail.
But until such forecasts are issued—it is also impossible to assess whether the event acted in a manner expected by the global warming alarmists.
Despite this lack of predictive ability, there is no shortage of ex post facto postmortems. Until that changes, no autopsies please!
True science offers up expectations in advance (i.e. “hypotheses,” which, in the weather/climate business are called “forecasts”), and then uses observations to verify (or reject) those hypotheses. Pseudoscience accepts all observations as support of its theories.
Isn’t it time we take a greater interest in the science of climate change?
Karl Popper: Conjectures and Refutations, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963, reprinted 2008, pp 43-86.
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Bad weather hits soy crop in Brazil stronghold too
The deterioration in South America’s weather, which has already sparked downgrades to hopes for Argentina’s soybean crop, is beginning to raise doubts of Brazil’s too, dashing expectations of bumper yields.
The wet weather in central Brazil, including in Mato Grosso, has until to now been seen as an impediment to harvest progress and logistics, but a support to yields.
Indeed, upgrades to estimates for Brazil’s 202-13 soybean crop have to some extent balanced downgrades to thinking on Argentina’s, which is being sapped by hot and dry weather.
Informa on Friday raised its estimate for Brazil’s soybean harvest by 1.1m tonnes, to 84.0m tonnes, but cuts its forecast for Argentina’s by 3.9m tonnes to 54.5m tonnes.
‘Small, shrivelled seed’
However, on Monday, Brazil-based AgRural called time on rising hopes for Brazilian soybeans, lowering its estimate for the crop by 1.0m tonnes to 81.2m tonnes, warning that the heavy rains had begun to hurt yields too.
"Due to humidity, the quality of the beans harvested up until now has been below expectations," the consultancy said.
The comments were echoed by Michael Cordonnier, the influential crop scout, who warned of "more and more reports of poor seed quality" from the early harvest.
"We are talking about small, shrivelled seed, some is mouldy, with light weight, on which farmers are being forced to take discounts" to sell, Dr Cordonnier said.
"In few cases, seed has sprouted in the pod. When that happens the field is toast, and you might as well plough it in."
The results bore out a strategy among Brazilian farmers of splitting soybean sowings equally between early, medium and late maturing varieties.
"You not want all your soybeans maturing in mid-January because that is the height of the rainy season, and it might be two or three weeks before you can get the crop harvested," Dr Cordonnier said.
"They were talking about a super-record harvest in Mato Grosso. Now they just hope the weather dries up so they can get an average yield."
Meanwhile, further south, in Rio Grande do Sul, where dryness has tested crops, weekend rains had disappointed.
‘It has been hot, dry’
Dr Cordonnier said he was sticking by a forecast of 81m tonnes for Brazil’s soybean crop, which would still be a record.
"I had been considering raising my forecast. But I’m glad I didn’t," he said.
However, he did lower by 1m tonnes to 51m tonnes his forecast for Argentina’s soybean crop.
The US Department of Agriculture, whose data set global benchmarks, pegs the harvest at 54m tonnes.
However, a report from its Buenos Aires bureau overnight estimated the crop at 53m tonnes, warning that "since mid-December, it has been hot, dry, and there hasn’t been significant rainfall in much of the major production area".
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:04 pm
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Weather woes hit hopes for huge SA corn, soy crops
Hopes for big South American crops buyers are relying on to fill supply gaps left by drought-hit US harvests took a knock with the first talk that a difficult sowing season had curtailed yield harvest.
The run of upgrades to Brazil’s soybean crop went into reverse as Michael Cordonnier, the respected crop scout, trimmed his forecast to 80m tonnes, from 81m-83m tonnes, albeit still a record high.
He warned that a downgrade was on the way to his forecast for Argentine corn too, following persistent rains which have left "fields two-feet deep in water as far as the eye can see".
And, separately, Oil World cautioned that "there is now a higher risk that initial estimates of a sharp increase in [South American] soybean production… will not fully materialise".
The analysis group has pegged the continent’s 2012-13 soybean output at 153.5m tonnes, a rise of 36m tonnes year on year.
The downgrades follow a further period of weather extremes, following last season’s drought, which has landed much of Argentina and southern Brazil with excessive rain, while leaving many central and northern parts of Brazil with too little moisture.
"Excessive rainfall has reportedly been received on roughly 50% of the total Argentine oilseed and grain area," Oil World said.
Dr Cordonnier, noting that Argentine corn sowings were 38% complete, some 20 points behind last year, said that "planting is very troublesome", adding that the slow rate of seedins was "becoming a big issue".
"Argentina is not going to get a lot of corn planted any time soon,"
While this could boost production of soybeans, as farmers switch to a crop which can be later planted, it was not clear that farmers "will not have problems planting soybeans as well", he told Agrimoney.com.
‘Very hot and very dry’
In Brazil, soybean sowings were also running behind, by as much as 20 points in Goias, where weather has been "very hot and very dry", with temperatures reaching 103 degrees Fahrenheit, Dr Cordonnier, at Soybean and Corn Advisor, said.
Oil World said that Brazil’s soybean sowings were lagging by 1.3m-1.5m hectares, as of October 19, adding that it was likely that "in the first or second week of November there will be headlines circulating in newswires about alarming soybean planting delays of around 3m hectares behind last year’s pace in Argentina and Brazil combined".
The problem for the central and northerly regions was that in some areas, such as the western part of top soybean-growing state Mato Grosso, the first rains arrived on schedule last month, prompting farmers to make a start on sowings.
"But they never got the second rains" needed to support the crop, Dr Cordonnier said.
Germination rates were, at 25-35%, poor, meaning many farmers were "waiting for rain, and will then replant".
Rains are in fact forecast for the next two days, which could have a significant influence.
"it’s time to get the stuff in the ground. It has been a spotty start to the growing season."
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:49 am
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Weather premium returns to orange juice
The weather price premium has returned to orange juice futures this week amid concerns Hurricane Sandy could damage groves in Florida, the world’s second biggest grower.
Speculators had been winding down storm related positions since the peak of the hurricane between mid-August and late October. OJ futures for January delivery are down more than 20 percent from their best level in September.
Fears are that Hurricane Sandy could combine with a second storm coming out of the Midwest United States to create a storm intensity not seen since the New England Hurricane of 1938.
"Certainly it’s a concern and that’s why the market is reacting the way it is," said Keith Flury, Senior Commodity Analyst Keith at RaboBank.
Market tracking storms
While current forecast suggest hurricane Sandy may become the worst to hit the US Northeast in 100 years traders appear to be in wait-and-see mode to see whether the two storms combine to create what some have termed a "Frankenstorm".
"We are pricing in now risks associated with that ..[the hurricane], but if everything comes off with little impact this risk premium will come off," suggested Flury. "At the same time if we do see production actually impacted by the storm then prices would move up," he added.
In addition to the reduction in the storm premium prices have also been affected by concerns of declining domestic sales.
A recent report published by the Florida department of Citrus showed domestic retail sales of from-concentrate orange juice fell 4.8% in terms of volume during September.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:15 am
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Nyetimber, which is based in West Sussex and produces around 400,000 bottles of sparkling wine a year, said that the quality and volume of this year’s grape harvest is not up to its usual standard.
The winemaker said that it had taken the “exceedingly difficult” decision to skip this year’s harvest as part of its commitment “to put quality above all else”.
This summer’s wet and cold summer meant that grapes did not mature as they should. Yields across many British vineyards are expected to be down by around 25 per cent and 75 per cent this year.
The Sussex winery, which provided wine for the Queen’s barge during the Jubilee, only uses grapes grown on its estate, meaning that there will be no wine produced at all at Nyetimber this year.
The move could result in a shortage of English sparkling wine in three or four years’ time when wine from this vintage would normally be released.
Cherie Spriggs, Nyetimber’s winemaker, said: “The quality is just not there. We’ve been monitoring the situation for some time and made the final decision on Tuesday after a week of difficult conversations with myself, the viticulturalist and Eric Heerema, the owner."
She said that the maturity of the fruit “is not where it needs to be”.
Ms Spriggs said: "As for the flavour development, that’s just not worth talking about. It’s heart-breaking. For the whole team here it’s tough – this is what we do, we take vines and we grow grapes and we make them into wine so to not have a harvest.”
A spokesman said: “The wet and cold summer meant we knew it could be a challenging harvest, but you never know till closer to harvest. Followed by a wet and cold autumn this has meant conditions aren’t right for maturing our top quality grapes.”
In 2009 Nyetimber made enough wine for about 400,000 bottles, representing about 12.5 per cent of the wine production of the entire country that year. The estate covers around 430 acres.
In a statement, the company thanked all the workers who had helped to grow this year’s harvest.
It said: “The drive for perfection is key to every aspect of Nyetimber’s business. We focus not on years, but on generations. Nyetimber remains committed to creating the finest sparkling wine in England, one to rival the very best in the world, including champagne, and continues to look to the future with excitement and confidence.”
The company said that “at this stage” the cancelled harvest will not cause it to increase the price at which it sells its wines.
“However, sparkling wines are released after several years on the lees, so that pricing decision is some way off,” the spokesman said.
Two years ago Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvee 2003 won first prize in an international competition, beating leading French Champagne producers including Bollinger and Louis Roederer.
The first Nyetimber vineyards were planted in Sussex in 1988. The aim was to make premium sparkling wine that would rival Champagne.
The south of England shares similar geology and soils to the Champagne region.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:12 pm
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Weather woes dim hopes for Argentine, Aussie wheat
Hopes for southern hemisphere wheat output took a knock when Rabobank, citing dryness, lowered the bar on estimates for Australia’s harvest, while crops in parts of Argentina were lost to floods.
Rabobank downgraded by 1.7m tonnes to 22.8m tonnes its forecast for Australian wheat output, signalling a decline of 20% from last season’s record harvest.
The estimate was also below a market consensus figure of 23.2m tonnes, as reported by Bloomberg, and estimates from Abares, the Australian commodities bureau, of a 24.1m-tonne crop, and a US Department of Agriculture forecast of 26.0m tonnes.
And it comes amid an increased world focus on southern hemisphere harvests, as a potential source of grain to replace that lost in the northern hemisphere to droughts in the former Soviet Union.
"The trade will be increasingly sensitive to September rainfall prospects across Australia," Richard Feltes at US broker RJ O’Brien warned.
In the UK, grain merchant Frontier said: "To get anywhere near the USDA estimate of 26m tonnes, rain is needed soon. Can this key wheat exporter really escape the weather issues that have plagued every other world producer?"
‘Total or partial loss’
Rabobank’s downgrade came hours after the Buenos Aires grain exchange said that rains which were initially viewed as increasing wheat output prospects in Argnentina – the southern hemisphere’s other major wheat exporter – had proved too much for some crops.
"Rains recorded in the last few days have exacerbated the excess of water in extensive areas" of Buenos Aires province, which accounts for nearly half national wheat production, the exchange said.
While saying it was too early to estimate total damage, "large parts of the west of Buenos Aires reported total or partial loss of crops due to soil saturation".
Hopes for Argentine wheat have already been dented by a drop of more than 20% in sowings to historically low levels, as farmers switch to other crops, notably barley, in which laxer export restrictions have offered greater hope for tapping elevated global prices.
Rabobank said its downgrade reflected lower hopes for output in Western Australia, the country’s top grains-producing state, where crop "deterioration continues" thanks to dry weather.
Parts of Western Australia received record low rains in July, "putting significant stress on crops throughout the state".
Graydon Chong, senior grains and oilseeds analyst at the bank, said that a field trip to Western Australia has revealed "short and inconsistent" wheat, leading him to expect "some abandonment" of crops, and lower yields of what was harvested.
Over Australia as a whole, with the prospect of an El Nino weather event, "the 2012 winter crop harvest may be the first normal-to-dry harvest in three seasons", he said.
However, the silver lining to drier weather would be higher wheat protein levels, which would boost further price prospects already supported by the poor former Soviet Union harvest, and a disease-hit Chinese crop Rabobank pegged at 105m tonnes – 13m tonnes below the USDA forecast.
Indeed, prospects looked bright for Australian wheat exports despite the expected drop in production, with "upside potential for high protein Australian wheat" shipments, and "high demand" for feed supplies, given the expense of alternative grains.
"China is expected to demand up to 4m tonnes of feed wheat this season, with the majority of anticipated to come from Australia," Mr Chong said.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:55 am
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Dry Weather Threatens India Cotton Crop
07 August 2012
INDIA – The 2012/13 area planted to cotton is expected to drop 200,000 hectares to 10.6 million hectares, significantly lower than the record 12.2 million hectares that were planted in 2011/12.
If rains do not improve during August, area could drop further. 2012/13 production is forecast at 30.0 million 170 kg bales, down 700,000 bales from the current USDA estimate.
Indian cotton continues to trade at a premium to the international market, prompting mills to increase their imports of cotton and exporters to sell stocks in the domestic market. Strong spinning margins are leading to robust mill consumption. 2012/13 exports are forecast 600,000 170 kg bales lower at 5.4 million 170 kg bales due to lower production prospects.
Area and Production Forecast Lower
According to official reports, cotton sowing had reached 8.3 million hectares across India as of July 20, 2012. The pace is 700,000 hectares slower than the year-ago pace when Indian farmers planted a record 12.2 million hectares. The Government of India is currently projecting planted area of 11.5 million hectares, significantly higher than the current USDA estimate of 10.8 million hectares.
Within India, two-thirds of cotton is produced in the central cotton growing zone in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha where much of the crop is rain-fed. The northern zone, which consists of the states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, produces cotton under irrigated conditions and accounts for about 15 per cent of production. In the south, the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu account for 20 per cent of production.
Trade and official sources indicate that farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra (India’s largest cotton producing states) could still increase area if rains materialize in August, but yields will likely be affected due to late planting. Recent field travel to Gujarat indicates that cotton area is down by over 50 per cent due to dry conditions. Farmers are shifting to guar and are waiting to see if rains materialize in early August before deciding to plant castor, cotton or more guar. A significant shift to groundnuts is not expected because the crop requires relatively significant levels of water.
While August rains could spur farmers to plant more cotton, persistent dry conditions at this late stage suggest that planted area will drop further and 2012/13 area is now estimated 200,000 hectares lower at 10.6 million hectares based on lower estimated area in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Yields are also expected to drop further to 480 kg per hectare, lowering production to 30 million 170 kg bales (23.4 million 480 bales), down 700,000 170 kg bales (547,000 480 lb bales) from the current USDA estimate.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:55 pm
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Weather setbacks hurt many US crops, but not corn
Dryness – as well as hail and dust storms – has taken a toll on the condition of some US crops, but not corn, for which the proportion of the official rating stayed unchanged, defying market expectations of deterioration.
The proportion of the US corn crop viewed by the US Department of Agriculture as in "good" or "excellent" health was, as of Sunday, 72%, the same as the week before.
"Crop conditions remain favourable," Luke Mathews at Commonwealth Bank of Australia said, adding that "excellent crop conditions are needed for US corn yields to meet the USDA’s optimistic forecast" of 166 bushels per acre.
At Benson Quinn Commodities, Jon Michalscheck said that the static figure disguised a "slightly negative yield trend bias", given that it included a decline in crop ratings in major producing, and yielding, states such as Iowa.
There the proportion of the crop rated "good" or "excellent" eased 2% to 75%, despite some rain last week.
"There are areas still in need of moisture. Crop conditions declined slightly for the second straight week although they remained rated mostly good to excellent," USDA officials said.
Indeed, many areas of the US remain in need or rain. Official data show 42% of the Midwest suffering abnormally dry or drought conditions, compared with 1.2% a year ago.
"Field conditions continue dry in the US farm belt, despite scattered showers last week, "Gail Martell at Martell Crop Projections said.
"Hot May temperatures were the culprit, keeping evaporation high and reducing the effectiveness of showers", although cooler weather is expected this week.
"Soil moisture analysis shows a decrease in field moisture across the wide swathe of the US heartland in the recent two weeks."
Dry conditions did take their toll on some crops, with the USDA pegging its first rating of this year’s soybean crop at 65%, below the 68-69% that investors had expected.
In the key soybean state of Nebraska, "showers brought moisture and improved growing conditions to portions of the east while the dry west saw conditions continue to decline".
Furthermore, "hail damaged crops and property in areas of the state and producers will have to decide if replanting will take place".
The proportion of the US rice crop in good or excellent health dropped four points to 65%.
And 52% of US winter wheat was rated in the top two condition bands, down two points on the week, despite a one-point improvement, to 40%, in the figure for Kansas, the top wheat-producing state.
‘High winds and blowing dust’
For cotton, 54% of the US crop was viewed as good or excellent, down three points on the week, reflecting a seven-point decline, to 47%, in the figure for Texas, the top US producing state.
"High winds and blowing dust damaged some recently-emerged cotton," USDA staff said.
"Overall, corn, cotton, and sorghum progressed well but needed rain in many areas."
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:00 am
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Dry weather is becoming a concern in several parts of the world.
It was a getting a little dry in northern Iowa as this was written May 18, and private forecaster T-Storm Weather LLC was forecasting above normal temperatures for Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, the heartland of the U.S. Midwest.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast of a national average of 166 bushels per acre for corn is a record and well above the normal trend. The USDA noted the benefits of early seeding to yield prospects, but that optimistic forecast will have to be reined in if the heat and dryness continue into June and July.
However, the main action last week was in wheat markets.
Chicago December wheat futures rose 14 percent on dry weather in key production regions, the biggest weekly gain in 16 years. That strength was made more impressive by the fact that the anxiety over the eurozone’s debt problems pressured most other commodities lower.
However, we must remember it is only May, which is a little early to be writing off crops, even winter seeded ones. Still, the wheat market looks better than it did a few weeks ago.
The winter wheat crop has headed and is turning colour, three weeks ahead of normal because of an unusually warm spring. Just a couple of weeks ago an industry tour of the state presented an optimistic yield forecast, but it has been dry since then and the condition has deteriorated.
The tour two weeks ago pegged the Kansas crop at 11 million tonnes, but now estimates are falling to 8.8 to 9.5 million tonnes.
Highs are in the low 30s C and the two week forecast is for below normal rainfall.
Areas around the Black Sea have suffered from hot, dry weather in recent weeks. Ukraine’s production had already suffered because of weather problems in the winter, and Bloomberg reports that the recent hot, dry weather threatens 30 percent of the remaining crop.
The USDA already forecasts that Ukraine will produce only 13 million tonnes of wheat in the new crop year compared to a bumper 22.1 million in 2011-12.
Ukraine received some rain last week, but it didn’t reach into Russia.
Russia’s Institute for Agricultural Market Studies cut its all-crop outlook to 91 million tonnes from 93 million because of the wheat crop’s reduction to 54 million from 56 million tonnes.
A Russian government spokesperson said it would likely cut its outlook in a week or so.
The USDA’s current forecast for Russian wheat production is 56 million tonnes, similar to last year’s crop. However, drought reduced the crop to 41.5 million tonnes in 2010-11.
That drought was widespread, reaching into Siberia. This year’s dryness is focused in the area east of the Black Sea, which traditionally provides most of the country’s exports.
Analysis group SovEcon also noted that subsidized rail rates that helped move grain west from Siberia will end in June, making it difficult to backfill the reduced supply in the Black Sea area with wheat from central Russia.
Farmers Down Under are seeding their winter crop.
April moisture in Western Australia, the country’s largest wheat producer, was below normal and May has also been dry.
A spokesperson with CBH, the state’s largest grain handler, told Bloomberg that farmers will wait for showers before resuming seeding. Acreage could be reduced if rain does not come or arrives too late.
Meanwhile, the Australian Oilseeds Federation said that a lack of rain is also a problem on the east side of the country, in New South Wales and Victoria.
Canola emergence is spotty.
This caused the federation to take a conservative view of 2012 canola production, forecasting it at 2.965 million tonnes, down from last year’s 3.185 million despite an increase in seeded area.
The federation is more pessimistic than other forecasters.
The USDA pegged Australian canola output at a record 3.25 million tonnes, while the Commonwealth Bank of Australia sees 3.2 million tonnes.
Some weather forecasters believe the current neutral situation in the Pacific Ocean will rapidly shift into an El Nino, and that usually brings dry weather to Australia.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat May 26, 2012 1:04 pm
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Weather reversal to cut Canadian durum sowings
The switch in rain extremes, from too little to too much, besetting Argentine soybeans is hampering crop hopes in parts of Canada too, leaving durum in particular at risk of failing to meet sowings hopes.
The Canadian Wheat Board warned that, with the North American durum sowing nearing completion, it appeared that "delays in Canada will likely cause some reduction in acreage from initial intentions".
The caution reflected a reversal from a water deficit in some major growing areas, notably in Saskatchewan, the top durum growing state, to flooding, particularly on low-lying areas, Bruce Burnett, the CWB’s director, weather and market analysis, said.
"While we were worried about dryness initially, it has turned in some areas too wet," Mr Burnett told Agrimoney.com.
The comments echo those on Thursday from the Buenos Aires grain exchange over late flooding of soybean crops, and come amid a debate among meteorologists over whether the La Nina period has really lapsed, and whether an El Nina is on the way.
Canada’s turn wet may in fact be a "persistent La Nina signal", Gail Martell at Martell Crop Projections said, noting the tendency for the weather pattern to bring excess moisture to the Canadian Prairies.
‘Undoubtedly lose some area’
While this presented a potential threat to all spring crops, durum, the type of hard wheat used to make pasta, was most at risk given the imminent closing of the sowing window.
Rain, and snow, had slowed sowings this week, after a bright start to the planting season, leaving more than 30% of crops still be planted in Saskatchewan.
And "with moisture expected this weekend, expected next week and next weekend, we will undoubtedly lose some [durum] area", estimating losses at some 100,000-200,000 hectares, he said.
The official estimate for Canadian sowings, of 2.064m hectares – up 27% on last year’s flood-affected levels – was also vulnerable to downgrade because it "came in quite aggressive", he added.
Durum prices had remained "largely unchanged" this month despite the threat to sowings in Canada, the top exporter of the grain, the CWB noted.
In Europe, prices have remained at E260 a tonne, data from Agritel show, missing out on a gain of more than 6% in prices of milling wheat, as measured by Paris’s benchmark November futures contract.
The flat market reflected the onset of harvesting in Europe, bringing fresh supplies onstream and so pressing on prices, for now, and making up for the losses to poor weather earlier in the season.
"Although crop losses in the Mediterranean basin are price supportive, harvest activity in the region is gaining momentum," the CWB said.
Durum, grown in southern European localities such as Andalusia in Spain, is one of the earliest grains reaped as the harvest moves north.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sat May 26, 2012 2:09 am
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