Weather Scare in Grain Markets Unlikely While El Nino Sticks Around

When it comes to long term weather outlooks, water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are often used to predict what’s to come.

For grain markets weighed down by large global supplies, the main Pacific indicators are showing no sign of an imminent weather issue reducing grain production, says a meteorologist who spoke at the Cereals North America market outlook conference in Winnipeg earlier this month.

There are two measurements in particular that show some correlation with crop yields: El Nin?o/Southern Oscillation (or ENSO) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (or PDO), explains Kyle Tapley, who’s based in Washington, DC with MDA Weather Services, in the above video.

ENSO is based on changes in sea surface temperatures and pressures in the tropical Pacific, while PDO is a measurement of sea surface temperatures in the mid-latitude Pacific. ENSO is currently in a very strong El Nin?o, while the PDO is strongly positive — a combination that generally results in above-trend corn and soybean yields in the U.S. and wheat and canola yields in Western Canada, says Tapley.

Whether in Australia or the Americas, El Nino tends to be positive for global production, he explains.

“If you look at global yields, El Nin?o is usually a net positive. Until we get out of this El Nin?o I wouldn’t expect any major shocks on a global scale in terms of weather for crops,” says Tapley.

Lower yields can be expected if ENSO flips to La Nin?a, as the combination of positive PDO and La Nin?a shows a negative correlation with U.S. corn and soybean yields and Canadian wheat and canola yields, he notes.

For winter, El Nin?o usually means a warmer weather for the northern U.S. and Canada. Tapley says he expects warm, dry patterns to continue into the 2016 planting season, with conditions beyond that depending on the weakening of El Nin?o.

Related: “Bruce Lee” versus the Polar Vortex — Which Pattern Will Determine Winter Weather for the Upper Midwest and Canadian Prairies?

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