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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com German
14 July, 2021

Barley news USA: Record heat and dire drought taking a toll on US barley crop this year

Record heat and dire drought are both taking a toll on the U.S. barley crop this year, a factor that could hamper a key ingredient used to brew beer, AgWeb reported on July 9.

USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey says unfavorable weather in the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest means crops are getting scorched this year. From barley to spring and durum wheat, crop condition ratings continue to tumble as dryness and heat persist.

"This has already taken a severe toll on spring sown crops that are primarily grown in the north like spring wheat and barley," says Rippey. "We're seeing our lowest crop conditions of the century, which is only two decades old, but still lowest crop conditions of the century, for spring wheat for barley across the Northern Plains."

The latest USDA Crop Progress report released on July 5 shows 22% of the U.S. barley crop is in good to excellent condition, the top two rating categories. That marks a 9 point drop in just a week. USDA says 39% of the crop is now rated poor to very poor. Washington is in the worst shape, with only 1% of the crop rated good to excellent. North Dakota's crop sits at 14% good to excellent, a two point drop in a week. Crop conditions indicate small grains in the northern tier of states will continue to produce production problems this year.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows 80% of the nation's barley crop is in drought, with barley conditions now recording the worst year on record. In fact, Rippey says the 2021 barley condition rating is "off-the-charts bad," with the four previous worst conditions of the 21st century showing up in 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2017.

"The picture is similar all through the West," says Rippey. "Burnt up rangeland and pastures and dryland crops are in really rough shape due to the lack of moisture."

Rippey says little rain relief is in the picture for the West in the remainder of the growing season, with some states enduring two straight years of drought.

Advance Trading and Red River Farm Network teamed up for a "Boots on the Ground" tour of North Dakota this week. Tommy Grisafi of Advance Trading says the wheat crop is as bad as advertised.

"The problem in the wheat is a big problem," Grisafi told U.S. Farm Report. "And if anyone is in Chicago, New York or trading a hedge fund, and they watch it rain in North Dakota and think it's going to save the wheat ... for the crop that's dead, it's dead."

While Grisafi says the wheat crop shows little promise of producing much in North Dakota this year, recent rains have helped revive the corn crop in the eastern portion of the state.

"North Dakota's corn has a pretty good chance here of making a decent crop with a couple more spoon fed rains," he adds. "Soybeans have a chance, too, but we're not quite there yet. We need some August weather to have a better idea."


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