Harvesting Challenges: The Impact of Extreme Weather on Global Crops - Mintec August Weather Report

September 28, 2023

3 mins read


Data and insights have been taken from the Mintec August 2023 Weather Report. To find out more about this full service, get in touch today.

MicrosoftTeams-image (36)Across the globe, extreme weather events are reshaping the landscape of agriculture. From soaring temperatures and droughts to heavy rains and dry spells, farmers face increasingly unpredictable conditions that threaten crop yields and food security. We've provided snippets of extreme weather events affecting crop production in different regions from our August Weather Report.

United States: Scorched Sorghum Fields

During August, the United States experienced above-average temperatures, especially in the central and southern regions. States like Texas and Kansas, known for producing 90% of the national sorghum, bore the brunt of this unseasonal heat. As a result, sorghum yields took a hit, impacting the supply of this important crop. While supply is expected to increase compared to the dismal 2022 harvest, the heatwave's effects may also spill over to other crops, compounding the challenges faced by American farmers.

Spain: Searing Heatwave and Olive Prices

Spain has endured months of above-average temperatures, with August temperatures surpassing the 30-year average by over 3°C in the south. These scorching conditions spell trouble for mid-season crops and have already caused a surge in olive prices due to high demand outstripping supply. Lemon trees in full bloom are at risk of producing smaller fruits due to the extreme heat, potentially affecting overall production. The prolonged heat has also taken a toll on mature crops like olives, oranges, and wine grapes, leading to reduced quality and yields.

Germany: Rainfall Disrupts Harvest Season

August brought an unexpected weather pattern to Germany, with some regions experiencing up to 80% more rainfall than usual. While rain is usually beneficial, the continuous downpour has disrupted the harvest season for grains and rapeseed (canola). These crops typically require dry conditions in August for proper maturation and stable field harvesting. However, the persistent rain has caused delays and significantly reduced crop quality. There is also an increased risk of disease and rot, with reports of sprouting grains further compounding the challenges. Consequently, the supply of German grain and rapeseed may decrease, with some being designated for animal feed due to quality concerns.

India: Low Monsoon Rains Threaten Key Crops

Western India faced below-average rainfall in August, marking one of the driest monsoon seasons in a decade. These conditions have adversely affected the sowing area of crops like cotton, potentially hindering crop development. Sugar cane production is a major concern, with limited rainfall in key regions leading to slower growth and yield losses. To counteract reduced production, India is considering a ban on sugar exports to ensure domestic supply, potentially impacting the global sugar market, as India accounts for 10% of global exports.

Australia: Lingering Dry Spell and El Niño Concerns

Since May, Australia has grappled with prolonged dry conditions, with eastern regions, in particular, feeling the impact. In August, Queensland received a mere 1mm of rainfall, significantly below the typical 25mm. These dry conditions have cast a shadow over rapeseed (canola) production compared to the previous year, while pulses show promise for average or above-average yields. The looming El Niño event is expected to exacerbate the situation, extending the dry weather throughout the Southern Hemisphere's spring and summer. If this scenario unfolds, it could lead to further declines in pulse yields and rapeseed production in Australia.

Extreme weather events continue to reshape the agricultural landscape worldwide. From the United States to Spain, Germany, India, and Australia, farmers grapple with the challenges posed by climate change. These not only impact local farmers but also send ripples through the global food supply chain.

As the industry navigates this new era of uncertainty in agriculture, resilience, innovation, international collaboration becomes critical to ensuring food security for all. How do you see your business affected?

Explore Mintec to learn how leveraging extensive data and insight on extreme weather can help you mitigate risks and maximize opportunities during turbulent times. Get your free trial of Mintec platform, now.


Lucy Simmonds

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