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Worst Texas drought in 44 years causing wheat, beef shortages

Sunday, March 27, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: Texas, drought, health news

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(NaturalNews) Lower yields and continually-rising demand has sparked a sharp rise in prices for wheat and beef in the US. And extended drought conditions across Texas, which is the nation's largest cattle producer and second-largest winter-wheat grower, has contributed to the overall US cattle herd now being the smallest it has been since 1958, as well as to the more than half of the Texas wheat crop that is currently in poor or very poor condition.

According to reports, Texas has gotten only about 4.7 inches of rain since September, which is the lowest average on record since 1967. While areas in the north that include North Dakota and parts of Canada have been getting too much rain in recent days, Texas and surrounding states like Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado -- all of which are also heavy producers of cattle and wheat -- are barely holding on as they hope and pray for rains to come.

"We're probably already seeing some damage, but in the next couple of weeks, we'll surely go downhill major if we don't get some rain," said David Cleavinger to Bloomberg, concerning the continued decline in his wheat crop. He is currently only able to irrigate about 75 percent of his 1,000 acre wheat crop due to the drought, and conditions could get even worse.

National Weather Service data shows that within the past month, most of the southern-central plain states have received less than 25 percent of their normal precipitation for this time period. Such conditions have only exacerbated the already bad wheat yields, which have driven wheat prices at the Kansas City Board of Trade up 71 percent throughout the past year.

As far as beef is concerned, many cattle ranchers have had to reduce their herds because there simply is not enough grass for them to eat. Wholesale beef prices in the US have jumped 17 percent throughout the past year, and in February, retail beef prices were up 9.4 percent compared to what they were last year.

Sources for this story include:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-24/wor...
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