Drought Monitor reveals a mixed bag for farmers across the Corn Belt, Delta

The latest US Drought Monitor shows that extended dryness has improved in parts of the Corn Belt and Delta, but intensified in the Great Plains.

Brian Fuchs with the National Drought Mitigation Center tells Brownfield many areas have been in drought since harvest last year. “You’re really looking at places in Southwest Nebraska, a lot Western Kansas and then even up into Northeast Nebraska, Northwest Iowa and Southeast South Dakota. There are just these pockets that have been persistently dry now for 12-plus months.”

Exceptional drought expanded in Northeast and Southwest Nebraska and Western Kansas.  Severe drought expanded in Iowa and areas of Missouri. Nebraska has almost 63% of the state in severe drought or worse, just under 28% in extreme drought or worse and over 10% in exceptional drought.

He says Nebraska hasn’t been this dry since 2013.

Fuchs says flash drought that developed in the Eastern Corn Belt has improved, but it may have an effect on yields. “It’s going to be interesting that even as the end of the growing season has been pretty decent in the eastern side of the Corn Belt.  What was the impact of that couple weeks of hot and dry conditions during those crucial pollination periods and pod filling times.”

Abnormally dry conditions developed in Northern Indiana and parts of Michigan while moderate drought developed in Central Illinois.

He says pockets of dryness in the Delta have improved some, but “there is some moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions still hanging on. That’s going to be one of the parts in the country – once those widespread yields come in on those grounds – just to see the exact impact on how these crops held on during the hot and dry periods.”

Pockets of moderate to severe drought developed in Central Arkansas.

The portion of the U.S. in drought fell to 37 percent, but almost a quarter of the country remains in severe or worse condition.

Brian Fuchs, an author with the National Drought Monitor:

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