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Barley, lettuce affected by adverse climate conditions

There have been several recent news articles discussing the effect of bad weather and climate conditions on crops.  Here are a couple of the more interesting ones.

AgWeb published an article today discussing the poor barley crop that has been produced this year.  Much of the crop has been moved to the western US due to expansion of corn and soybeans in the Midwest under higher prices.  This year heavy rains in August in Montana and Idaho caused premature germination in the grains, reducing their usefulness in beer production, although they can still be used as feed.  The brewers have been able to work around this situation by ramping up production to use the grain as quickly as possible and supplementing with foreign supplies.  Happily, this should result in little to no change in the cost of beer to the consumer.

The Packer released a story on the impacts of desert frosts on the production of lettuce and other greens in California and Arizona.  After the unusually warm summer due to the ridge of high pressure that has dominated the weather pattern on the west coast this year, most production was two to three weeks ahead of normal.  However, the recent cold outbreaks that have moved into the area from Canada have produced frosts in the production areas which are affected to reduce supplies and potentially raise the price of greens like spinach in January.  The next cold outbreak rolling into the central US now could produce more frosts in the production area, further slowing the shipment of leafy vegetables to market.