As The Global Famine Grows, Mites Breakout In America’s Wheat Fields
Since nearly everyone was hit with covid over Christmas and New Year's, we've been enjoying the pandemic lull these last few months. Looking around, you'd never even assume we were still experiencing a global pandemic, but those numbers are on the rise again.
Why is that bummer covid news relevant to America's wheat industry? Because two years of the covid pandemic has more than doubled those affected by the growing global famine and as most of the plains states continue to have dry weather, the next apocalyptic square on your pandemic bingo card is about to get dobbed.
Like anything else that grows, America's agricultural industry hinges on a metric nobody can control. You can plant seeds into fertilizer and kill weeds that rob nutrients, but if you can't get enough water to the crops, they suffer more than just stunted growth.
Experts with the OSU Coop Extention Service suggest the current drought is patterning similar to the last drought we had back in 2011. If you weren't here for it, conditions were far worse than the great Dust Bowl of the 1930s and it didn't break until the entire state flooded in May of 2015.
At this moment in time, the drought conditions are just right to propagate a massive infestation of Brown Wheat Mites... Tiny little bugs halfway between spiders and ticks that prey on vegetation in this case. While it's normal to have Brown Wheat Mite activity in the average wheat field, the dry weather provides a perfect storm in their life cycle, meaning massive crop losses.
Of the fields inspected so far in the worst affected parts, mainly Western Oklahoma, OSU's entomologists suggest the best-case scenario for many farmers is to lose only half of their potential, normal yields while others will see utter devastation.
The problem isn't limited to just Oklahoma though. Almost all of the top-producing wheat states are having an issue with this mite or others thanks to the dry conditions. Montana, Kansas, Texas, and Nebraska, they're all dealing with deep crop losses and this will only compound the global famine.
If you think it sucks now paying over $4 per gallon at the pump thanks to Russia's aggression and President Biden's unprecedented inflation rates, wait until a loaf of cheap bread fetches $10 here in the breadbasket of America.