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Drought, poor wheat harvest in Kansas has effects on national economy, says climatologist

Date:
July 10, 2014
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
The anticipated record low wheat harvest in Kansas will affect food availability and the national economy, says a climatologist. That isn't just disappointing for Kansas farmers, but could affect other food availability and the overall economy. Drought conditions lead to poor pasture conditions and hay production, which then impacts the number of cattle ranchers can graze, she says.
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The 2014 wheat harvest in Kansas may be the lowest on record and could have a ripple effect on the economy, according to a Kansas State University climatologist.
Credit: Image courtesy of Kansas State University

The Kansas wheat harvest may be one of the worst on record — and the loss doesn't just hurt Kansas, according to a Kansas State University expert.

"The rains came too late to benefit the wheat production, so we may have our lowest wheat harvest on record," said Mary Knapp, service climatologist in the university's agronomy department.

That isn't just disappointing for Kansas farmers, but could affect other food availability and the overall economy. Drought conditions lead to poor pasture conditions and hay production, which then impacts the number of cattle ranchers can graze, Knapp said.

"Then it starts trickling into the community because if you have wheat farmers with very low production, they most likely also received very low income," Knapp said. "That farmer is not going to invest in machine upgrades or make as many purchases in the community. That will cause the economy to drag, which may result in a ripple effect that can be far reaching."

Knapp says it takes about as long to recover from a drought as it did to reach drought status, so if it has been three years in the making, it will take three years or more to recover from the drought effects. And even getting more rain may not improve drought status.

"You can have a drought punctuated by a flood and still be in a drought," Knapp said. "If the rain comes too quickly, it doesn't have a beneficial component."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. The original article was written by Lindsey Elliott. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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Kansas State University. "Drought, poor wheat harvest in Kansas has effects on national economy, says climatologist." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710094340.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2014, July 10). Drought, poor wheat harvest in Kansas has effects on national economy, says climatologist. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710094340.htm
Kansas State University. "Drought, poor wheat harvest in Kansas has effects on national economy, says climatologist." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710094340.htm (accessed May 26, 2015).

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