October 18, 2019
Flash drought affects Southern US farmers
Farmers in 16 southern US states, including Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida are facing a flash drought that's leaving pastures bare and dusty, reported ABC news.
Concern is growing among farmers of cattle, cotton and corn, who are suffering after a summer of record high temperatures, very little rain and low cattle prices.
Dean Bagwell, a farmer with 350 cows on land his family has farmed for nearly 100 years, is worried. He feels that without enough rain and if the pastures don't recover, the farm will need to use winter feeding or be forced to liquidate cattle.
The US Department of Agriculture reports in its recent crop report that most fields in poor or very poor condition in Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas and West Virginia.
The drought can cause algae blooms in the water which are toxic to livestock, in addition to armyworms and pests that can destroy crops.
Scientists in the National Climate Assessment last year stated that climate change will likely intensify and escalate the frequency of droughts. Southern US will be more affected by the heat waves.
Dry weather and intense heat combines to form a flash drought, a term created by Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Centre during the 2001 drought in the Great Plains. Satellite imagery has provided data for Svoboda and scientists to monitor incoming and rapidly spreading drought.
- ABC News US