Weather Extremes Mount; West Getting Drier

The US experienced the extremes in weather this week, with expansion of drought in the West, a robust Southwest monsoon, a tropical storm making landfall in the Southeast and extreme flooding in southeastern Texas, said the National Weather Service with its weekly Drought Monitor Thursday.

In the West, mid-level ridging has resulted in much-above-normal temperatures for the western third of the continental US, exacerbating drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest, northern Great Basin, Northern Rockies and along the Front Range, the NWS said.  Above-normal temperatures also pushed into the northern High Plains, warranting further deterioration of drought conditions in locations where rainfall remained below-average for the week.

The central and eastern Corn Belt was a battle ground of sorts, with some locations seeing improvement with this week’s heavy rainfall, while other locations missed out, warranting some degradation because of existing dryness, the NWS said.  New Mexico and west Texas saw targeted reductions in drought coverage from heavy precipitation associated with the robust Southwest monsoon.

In the eastern US, Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall and moved up the East Coast leaving in its wake a large swath of more than two inches of rainfall, with several locations receiving five to 10 inches, the NWS said.

Elsa warranted moderate drought removal along the Virginia/North Carolina border with 1-category improvements elsewhere along Elsa’s path up the East Coast, the NWS said.  Frontal activity prior to Elsa’s passage warranted improvements to interior areas of the Northeast.

Fire risk remains high across the West.




Through Monday, the West Coast, much of the Great Basin and the Northern Rockies were favored to remain dry, the NWS said.  Conversely, precipitation associated with the Southwest monsoon was expected to continue across the Four Corners.

In the eastern half of the US, a frontal boundary extending from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes was expected to move southward toward the Gulf, bringing the potential for many areas from the Central Plains and Mississippi Valley to the East Coast to receive more than an inch of rain, with the highest amounts extending from the Central Plains to the eastern Great Lakes.

Record temperatures were expected across the Northern Tier, while the southern half of the US could experience seasonal to below-normal temperatures, the NWS said.

The 6-10 day outlook (valid July 20 to 25) favors enhanced odds for above-normal temperatures across much of the West and Northern states eastward to the Great Lakes, underneath mid-level ridging, the NWS said.  Enhanced odds for below-normal temperatures were favored across much of the southern US and into the Northeast, associated with a weakness in the ridge in the west-central US and troughing in the East.




Fed cattle traded this week at $119 to $125 per cwt on a live basis, steady to down $1 from last week.  Dressed-basis trade was at $196 to $201, steady to down $1.

The USDA choice cutout Thursday was down $3.01 per cwt at $269.87, while select was off $1.27 at $252.48.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $17.39 from $19.13 with 111 loads of fabricated product and 30 loads of trimmings and grinds sold into the spot market.

The USDA reported Thursday that basis bids for corn from livestock feeding operations in the Southern Plains were unchanged at $1.07 to $1.15 a bushel over the Sep futures and for southwest Kansas were unchanged at $0.70 over Sep, which settled at $5.64 1/4 a bushel, down $0.04.

The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Wednesday was $152.35 per cwt down $0.48.  This compares with Thursday’s Aug contract settlement of $157.35 per cwt, up $0.42.