The U.S. Drought Monitor released today shows even more red covering much of the Great Plains and South, bringing bad news for farmers and ranchers in those especially hard-hit areas.
Though some small showers provided needed relief, serious damage to crops and pastures won't rebound on that alone. The Midwestern states of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky received nice rains and in general, drought conditions there have improved. However, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa and Illinois have slipped further into the extreme drought (D3) category. Arkansas is suffering from exceptional drought (D4) nearly statewide.
Extreme drought has also crawled onto the edges of Iowa, almost completely covering Nebraska on its way. An exceptional drought area growing in western Oklahoma has now expanded by connecting with another D4 area in western Kansas. Louisiana farmers should also note that an abnormally dry and moderate drought (D0 and D1) area has snuck into the northern part of the state. The drought monitor also shows that though drought has continued worsen across the Plains, some improvement was seen in the Black Hills of South Dakota, where cooling weather kicked conditions into D2 from D3.
Many western states are heading into monsoon season, a welcome change from the D1 and D2 conditions across New Mexico and the four corners region, however long-term impacts have not yet been mitigated. The monitor noted also a slight growth of the D1 area in Montana.
The Southeast is in much better shape than a majority of the country, enjoying heavy precipitation in Tennessee, the Carolinas, and portions of Georgia, Alabama and Florida, improving drought condition slightly. However despite some rain, Georgia is still suffering from D3 and D4 conditions across much of its middle.
Changes ahead include a heat shift from the Midwest to the West, leaving better chances for rain in many of the corn-growing states and along the eastern coasts. High temperatures are expected to continue throughout the West.
Keep up on the drought
Farm Progress is pooling all the coverage of the drought from across the country into a single place—DatelineDrought.com—where you can see a daily video from Max Armstrong, Farm Progress director of broadcast, and Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr, along with national, local and regional coverage of the ongoing drought across the heart of the country.