A moderately strong El Nino is expected to come early next year

Extreme weather is gripping much of the Southern Plains this year, causing a dismal return on winter wheat. The change from La Nina to El Nino, however, could bring some better conditions for U.S. growers.

Almost one-third of this year’s winter wheat crop is abandoned, and it is a number U.S. farmers have not seen since World War One. Texas has the largest rate coming in at 70 percent.

Looking ahead to next year, atmospheric scientist Matt Makeins predicts a moderately strong El Nino will come early. He says that means the Southern Plains could get more snow, but he also says that means colder temperatures, which could be concerning for spring calving but good for wheat growers.

“Temperature-wise, you are going to see that transition throughout the season, getting colder and colder. Anybody with a spring calving situation, you really have to watch the cold snaps because they are going to come through with snow, and we know that’s a bad combo. I mean, the good news is, this is a much better outlook for wheat growers, we got moisture. But yes, you do have to worry about that cold into next spring.”

Makeins says if El Nino fades away quickly, next summer could hold some drier conditions.