Bad news for America’s farmers


Australians are unhappy – to put it mildly – to learn that a third consecutive year of La Niña is likely, stretching into 2023.

Much of Australia will face unusually heavy rains in coming months, the country’s weather forecaster said on Tuesday, after confirming that a La Niña weather event is under way for the third year in a row and would likely last into next year.

The Bureau of Meteorology firmed up its guidance for this year for the weather pattern known in Australia to produce wet, windy summers, saying it was now under way after it previously had forecast a high chance.

The event puts the country’s densely populated east coast on alert when many residents are still rebuilding after floods linked to the most recent La Niña, which ran into early 2022.

. . .

Wild weather swings in Australia brought its worst bushfires in a generation in late 2019 and early 2020, followed by two La Niña patterns, which swelled rivers beyond their banks and left thousands of flooded homes uninhabitable.

There’s more at the link.

Of course, Australia’s seasons are opposite to ours, being in the Southern Hemisphere.  That country is now entering spring, and looking forward to a summer Christmas, while here in the Northern Hemisphere we’re digging out our heavy clothes and getting ready for several months of cold weather.

Unfortunately, the USA can look forward to a distinct lack of flooding in our drought-stricken southwest;  rather the opposite, in fact.

Californians should brace for another year of La Niña as the stubborn climate pattern in the tropical Pacific is expected to persist for a third consecutive year, forecasters say.

The latest outlook, published Thursday by the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, has increased the chances of La Niña sticking around through November to 91%, a near certainty. The pattern may also linger into winter, with an 80% chance of La Niña from November to January and a 54% chance from January to March.

La Niña is the cooler phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern and is a significant driver of weather conditions across the globe, including temperature, rain and snowfall, jet streams and tropical cyclones.

In the southwestern United States, La Niña seasons tend to be drier, which could spell trouble for the drought-ravaged region.

. . .

According to The Times’ drought tracker,, more than 97% of the state is now under severe, extreme or exceptional drought, the three worst categories. The state’s reservoirs are at about 41% of capacity.

Should the forecast manifest, it would be only the third time La Niña has stuck around for three consecutive years since records began in the early 1950s, Halpert said. The only other such “triple dips” were from 1973 to 1976 and from 1998 to 2001.

Again, more at the link.

We’ve already seen how the drought is threatening vegetable production in California and elsewhere.  Something like 50% by value of American farm crops are already in dire straits, as we’ve discussed here recently (for example, tomatoes).  A third year of drought will slash production even further, and may result in some farmers – perhaps a large proportion – leaving the field entirely (you should pardon the expression).

The United States has been self-sufficient in food for many years.  It probably still will be, despite droughts and other challenges.  However, it won’t have anywhere near the same surplus of foods to export to other nations:  and in the light of famine and other food production challenges and bottlenecks elsewhere, that could be literally catastrophic for some nations.  It could lead to the rationing, or even non-availability, of some foods here in order to supply them to others who need them more (in the opinion of the bureaucrats responsible for such allocations).

As we’ve said in these pages many times before:  pile ’em high and stack ’em deep.  Don’t get caught short, particularly not when we know what’s coming.



  1. "It could lead to the rationing, or even non-availability, of some foods here in order to supply them to others who need them more (in the opinion of the bureaucrats responsible for such allocations)."

    I can picture Joey & the Democrats exporting our food to African countries as reparations of some sort.

  2. For those readers who read Watts Up With That regularly, this won't be a surprise, but while the ENSO is in the La Nina phase, it's not particularly strong. In particular, the "ENSO Meter" in the right column shows it about -0.8 on scale of 0 to -3.0. Less than a third of what it could be.

    That says it's not likely to be particularly bad. If it intensifies, more likely, but I've been watching this for a long time and while it has moved in that direction, it hasn't moved much.

  3. Surprised you have not mentioned the upcoming railroad strike. Railroads account for 30 percent of freight miles in the US, and a good deal of that is grain and bulk food transport. Vegetables tend to move by truck for perishability reasons, but the long term commdities like grain and beans go by RR. The railroad workers seem to be a lot less worried about pay and more worried about the fact they are going 14 days at a time, 12 hour shifts, and cannot put in for paid time off pretty much period. And since their ranks were decimated (literally, 10 percent or more), and no plan in place to replace those who are gone, the RRs cannot give time off to the remaining, leading to the near certainty of a strike by Friday. Make sure to top off your supplies, you may need them in two weeks.

  4. Ya…
    South-eastern Aust and I am simmering because i have an urgent need to get canola sprayed to prevent fungal infection, and the helicopter booked for the job is grounded due to mechanical issues.

    We have an old saying that “there is more money in mud that dust”, but wet seasons bring their own challenges. In this area and landscape we are unlikely to get the kind of flooding that they experience (and have experienced since first settlement, “Climate-Change, be damned…) on the East Coast, but a wet harvest brings grain spoilage and an inability to get machinery onto the paddocks.

    At least I have something to harvest..,

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