China continues its run of unusual weather and drought problems.
Dry, cold weather this winter has created drought conditions in much of Henan Province. Rainfall from October through December was less than 50 mm. This is 86% less than usual. Area suffering from dry conditions in Henan totals 15.86 million mu (about 2.6 million acres) and 167 million mu (275,000 acres) are suffering serious drought conditions.
There has been some snowfall in Sanmenxia, southern Luoyang, and northern Nanyang, but not enough to alleviate the drought conditions. According to weather departments, the recent cold air, wind, and low moisture have created an unfavorable outlook for the drought situation.
The Provincial government has ordered local officials to pay close attention to irrigation to save the wheat crop. On December 31, the Henan Finance Department issued 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) in dought-mitigation funds, including 20 million yuan ($3 million) in aid from the central government. The cumulative total spent for drought mitigation in Henan is 200 million yuan ($30 million).
The drought primarily affects winter wheat, Henan's most important crop. The last two months (since the crop was sown) are said to be the driest for the fall-winter wheat season in 50 years.
On January 3, Henan farmers irrigate wheat using water from a newly-dug well.
In other weather news, farmers and officials in Heilongjiang Provinces are taking measures to save livestock from the extremely cold weather there. There has been widespread rain and snow in southern China which has raised transportation costs of hogs, raising prices.