Thursday, February 2, 2012
Pursuant to yesterday's question of how the 2011 drought affected Texas crop production, I found this helpful summary from the Texas Field Office of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The graph above is for cotton, and shows both production and yield. Production was hurt more than yield because a lot of planted acreage had to be abandoned outright. That will be a common pattern.
Here is corn:
and here is sorghum:
There are a few more graphs in the report, but you get the idea. Crop production in Texas was roughly halved compared to an average year in the last decade. This being the result of what was, by harvest time in September, the worst drought in Texas in the historical record:
Though it only narrowly beat out 1956 and given the lack of overall trend here I think you'd be hard pressed to say that the PDSI is clearly outside the range of historical variability in a statistical sense.