The western U.S. has already been facing drought conditions, and a combination of factors foreshadow those drought conditions are the beginning of a drought that could last beyond 2021. The reason: The La Niña weather cycle already underway in the Pacific Ocean — one that normally causes dry winters from the west coast to the Midwest — looks to have more staying power than normal, meaning it could influence weather conditions beyond 2021. Add to it similar conditions in major grain-growing regions of Eastern Europe, and it could promote a shortage of wheat and small grains because of shortened production in wheat country at home and abroad. Though parts of the U.S. where the majority of the nation’s wheat crop is grown got “a good drink of water” earlier this fall, keep your eye on precipitation totals heading into the crop’s emergence from winter dormancy next spring, as that will be critical to crop output, one forecaster says. See more of the La Niña outlook and what it means.