US Drought Monitor shows worsening drought in the ECB, some removal in WCB

The latest US Drought Monitor shows that drought has significantly intensified in areas of the Corn Belt while slightly improving in others.   

Brian Fuchs, an author of the USDM with the National Drought Mitigation Center tells Brownfield major corn producing areas are being impacted. “From Indiana to Illinois, into Missouri and Iowa, parts of Kansas and Nebraska – that’s kind of been the story over the last month or so. It came at a really critical time as we’re trying to get that corn crop going and established.”

He says many areas of the Corn Belt have missed out on significant relief this month, and there could already be an impact on yields.  “It is kind of setting the stage of what it could mean going into pollination when we’ve already seen fields that are stressed. We’re seeing curling and starting to see some tips firing.”

Pockets of severe and extreme drought expanded in Missouri, Iowa and Illinois, but there was drought removal for areas of Western Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.  “That was coming off of a winter where there was significant moisture in those areas. Not only are we seeing those grain crops doing well, we are also having pasture and rangelands doing well.”

Fuchs says there is some good news for the Upper Midwest region.  “Cooler temperatures have definitely helped, but we are seeing moderate drought in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Dakotas.”

Fuchs says drought has intensified over the last two weeks in the Delta. “We’ve seen not only that dryness pick up with temperatures increase. This week’s Drought Monitor showed a little bit of expansion of what we call abnormally dry or precursor to drought.”

Fuchs says there is some rain in the forecast for the entire Corn Belt but expects relief to be spotty.  

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