It’s back...

For months, states in the central and eastern Corn Belt have remained fairly free of drought, but now drought has reared its ugly head once again in many key agricultural states in the latest “Drought Monitor” report.

Abnormal dryness and patches of moderate drought, the lowest levels of drought reported by the “Drought Monitor,” have returned to parts of Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Overall, 19 percent of corn and 11 percent of soybeans are growing within an area experiencing drought.

However, the worst of the drought remains centered around the Southwest where conditions have improved marginally over the last week:

  • New Mexico has reigned as the nation’s driest state since May, and though conditions are improving slowly, New Mexico remains too dry. Currently, 80 percent is in extreme or worse drought, down from 86 percent last week. However, forecasts showed that the “moisture door” opened across the state this week thanks to “good old-fashioned Monsoon flow.”
  • Colorado, especially eastern parts of the states, remains entrenched in drought. Seventeen percent of Colorado is in exceptional drought, unchanged from last week.  
  • Kansas is quickly giving drier states a run for their money. Nearly half of the state is in extreme or worse drought. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few pockets around the Nebraska and Missouri borders, the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook shows that drought will likely persist over the majority of the state through the end of October.
  • Oklahoma is truly a mixed bag of drought conditions. In some places, less than 55 miles separate exceptional drought from areas free from drought. Currently, 30 percent of the state is in extreme or worse drought, unchanged from last week.
  • Twenty-eight percent of Texas is in extreme or worse drought, improved from last week’s report of 33 percent. However, some see patterns emerging that could indicate that drought in the Lone Star State could linger for several more years.  Read more here.  
  • In Nebraska, one thing is clear – the drought continues, but it is still an improvement from the intense drought that raged from September 2012 to April 2013. Currently, 36 percent of the state is in extreme or worse drought, unchanged from last week.

Further to the west, drought conditions have stabilized. Click here to view the full Drought Monitor Map.