According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this past January was the warmest January ever on record, dating back to 1880, when temperatures were first recorded. In fact, the global land and ocean surface temperatures were 2.05°F above the average for the 20th century, which seems to be part of an ongoing trend.
January 2020 was the 421st consecutive month with temperatures higher than the 20th-century average, with all signs showing that this is the new normal. These warmer temperatures weren’t felt just in the United States, but globally as well.
Typically colder regions like Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia also recorder higher-than-average temperatures throughout the month. And, scientists are predicting that overall, 2020 is likely to be one of the warmest years ever on record.
What Does This Mean for Farmers?
According to a poll on Growing Produce, 48% of voters believe this warmer weather has already impacted their farm’s production.
For some farmers, especially those growing seasonal crops, a warmer winter can lead to higher production, since their crops begin sprouting earlier in the year. However, when certain crops, like grapes, start opening up earlier, they’re at a higher risk of damage if a frost then occurs.
Likewise, colder weather can help stave off weeds and pests, putting crops at risk when winters are mild. For now, it’s still too soon to tell how farmers will be impacted by this record-warm January.
What are the Weather Predictions for Spring?
It seems as if this spring will be much of the same, with The Weather Channel predicting above-average temperatures for most of the country between March and May.
The Farmer’s Almanac predicts near- to above-average spring storms for some parts of the country, which could leave farmers experiencing the same corn and soybean planting issues that they dealt with in 2019.
We understand the impact that weather has on growers across the country. As more predictions for the year become available, we’ll continue to talk about them here.