Mid-Missouri weather flirted with frost Saturday morning. But nothing like the cold front in Northern Corn Belt states. Our low at MU Sanborn Field was 33F, which stayed above the killing-frost temp of 28F.
I’d sent a news release last week for Pat Guinan, MU Extension climatologist. He said to expect first frost in central counties in mid-October. So, we’re close.
His story also told how September temperatures were more like a normal August. High temps became a new normal for the year. Climatology, the long-term weather, shows warming months year by year in last decade.
With that background, I’d thought we’d get delayed first killing frosts. With delayed planting last spring from excess flooding, soybeans in particular were behind schedule all year on setting pods, turning color or filling pods. Warm weather, especially warm nights, helped speed soybean maturity.
Weather across Missouri grows spottier. That was shown by scattered rains in September. Some places in North Missouri received 10 and 11 inches of rain, while southern corners of the state some stations had less than half inch.
Weather is volatile, but commodity prices are more erratic. Weather affects potential grain in the bin. Less grain brings higher prices and vice versa. Feed prices affect livestock prices. Being a farmer takes being a climate watcher and futures market follower.
Recent world supply reports show plentiful corn. On that news, corn prices slumped. Then weather reports came out for northern states indicated real winter coming early. That brought prices back up. Hang on, there’ll be more volatility.
It’s interesting to note that the Corn Belt crept northward with warming in the last 10 years. When I started writing farm news, Minnesota wasn’t considered Corn Belt.
This past crop season, in one of his weekly Extension teleconferences, Pat Guinan revealed meteorologists’ secrets. Old weather models used for years don’t work well in this new weather.
You may be like me and didn’t notice weather forecasters never say “no rain.” There’s always a chance for rain even in long dry spells. I do notice now most forecasts throw in “20 percent chance for showers.” That should cover whatever.
It’d be interesting to check forecasts ahead of that 11.15 rainfall at Princeton in September or 0.51 recorded in the Bootheel.
More than supply-and-demand markets and weather forecasts throw huge variable into market prices. These new threats cost Missouri farmers in particular millions of dollars. They are the unexpected Tariff Tweets.
Missouri farm commodity groups led in sending delegations to the Far East. They opened trade. This helped soybean and beef prices in particular. Free trade was working just fine. Then the government bypassed free enterprise and took on driving markets. That’s when rural economies suffered. No market model predicts those political storms.
A recent non-governmental Tweet told that an alarmingly large percentage of people read not one book a year. Here’s a book that may be worth reading in rural Missouri. After all agriculture remains our No. 1 income in our state. A headline in the New York Times Book Review, Sunday, Oct. 13, caught my eye: “Meat Is Murder: Jonathan Safran Foer links our food choices to climate crisis.”
The book title: “We Are The Weather.” The reviewer doubts a book will stop us from eating cheeseburgers. Those are referred to as junk food. But, I sense reviewer and author both think laws need be passed. That’s what slowed use of tobacco. Those work somewhat.
But, it’s not just one book promoting ideas of meatless diets. In social media and main media there’s growing desire to change farming.
It happened that the “no-meat” book came in the same week the New York Times ran a full-page story on new health research showing the benefits of eating beef. But in following days a smaller story claimed the research was supported by animal agriculture interests.
The door opens for discussion. Tell your ideas on meatlessness: firstname.lastname@example.org.