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AGRIBUSINESS: El Niño Expected

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Scientists are anticipating El Niño to return this year, pointing to water temperatures off the Pacific coast of South America. In the past it has caused dry conditions in Southeast Asia and Australia and wet conditions in the Americas.

El Niño tends to affect southern and western regions of the United States and Kansas State University Senior Ag Economist Jay O'Neil says the past experiences of El Niño years shows favorable conditions for central U.S. corn and soybeans.

O'Niel thinks El Niño will not have a substantial negative impact on crop production here but anticipation is impacting commodity price predictions. And there are increased prices expected in all 16 major ag futures markets according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

And that could be good for Iowa farmers, USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says much of the Midwest temperatures look favorable for the summer.

"We do not expect high heat or extreme heat to be a big problem for the Midwest. That's generally good for crops, lower temperatures tend to mean better production and yield numbers for corn and soybeans for example." He says, "The only real concern would be the far upper Midwest, again getting into the upper Mississippi Valley westward into the Dakotas. Where we've had a very slow start to the growing season and we'd be concerned with wetness and cool weather through the summer and into the fall months."

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