The rainy conditions we’ve been having (in April) can be attributed in part to the El Niño, which is currently underway in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and is expected to continue for the next few months. You might wonder what other agricultural impacts are likely in an El Nino year.
The folks at AgroClimate.org have a fact sheet which describes what Southeast agriculture typically sees during an El Niño and the effects it has on a variety of agricultural crops, including grains and fruit crops.
For example, during El Niño years:
- Corn yields are usually lower than historic averages.
- Harvests of summer crops such as corn, peanuts, and cotton may be delayed because of increased rains in the fall
- Frequent rains may reduce tilling and yield of winter wheat.
- Wheat yields in southern Alabama and Georgia are generally higher than average during El Niño
- Frequent rains at the end of August and in early September may increase Hessian fly populations on winter wheat.
- Susceptible and moderate peanut cultivars have higher intensity of tomato spotted wilt virus.
- Yields of winter vegetables such as tomatoes, bell peppers, sweet corn, and snap beans are lower.
- Fungal and bacterial diseases, especially bacterial spot of tomato and bell peppers, present higher risks.
- Winter pasture crops may benefit from wetter weather, but planting and harvesting operations may be affected by heavy rainfall.
- Growers may have to reduce the dormancy compensating sprays to temperature fruits, such as peach, nectarine, blueberry, and strawberry because of increases in chill accumulation.
- Strawberry growth is slower than normal. Risk of fungal diseases such as anthracnose, botrytis fruit rot, and angular leaf spot is higher.