Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for June to September 2008

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24 June 2008

Floods affecting U.S. agriculture

Flooding throughout United States mid west region is having a devastating effect on the U.S. corn (maize) and soybean crop.

Most of Iowa, America's largest corn producer, has been declared a disaster zone. A lot of the states corn crop is, or has been, underwater. It is estimated three million acres of cropping land is waterlogged. The Mississippi river has been in flood for several days, and further rain is forecast. It is feared that at least 20 % of Iowa's summer crops have been lost.

As a result of the floods in Iowa, and in Illinois, U.S. corn prices have hit record highs. Meat prices are also expected to rise as feed prices rise. A flow on impact on world food prices is also forecast.

Still looking overseas, the summer monsoon is well under way in the sub-continent. The India Meteorological Department reports the incursion of the monsoon trough, after the passage of the MJO south of India about two weeks ago. Most regions have reported seasonal rainfall well above average to date.

This monsoon has resulted in some flooding, with the worst occurring in India's south west. Damage to crops, such as chickpea, can be expected in heavily flooded areas

The active monsoon will encourage widespread planting of Kharif (monsoon sown) crops in India. Crops planted during the southwest monsoon are harvested in autumn. Kharif crops include oilseeds like soybeans and groundnuts (peanuts), as well as rice, maize and sugarcane. Coffee, sugarcane and rice plantings throughout southern India should be willl also encouraged by the early monsoon onset. For above average rice yields, the monsoon will need to provide consistent rain during July, August and September, the crucial months for Indian paddy cropping.

The thirty day average of the SOI, as of the 26th of June is plus 0.1.

Last updated: 25 June 2008