Map: Drought Monitor Confirms Increasing Plains Dryness

The latest weekly drought monitor has confirmed rising concerns about dryness on the US central Plains as the 2021 winter wheat crop is seeded.

Although dryness and drought in the No. 1 Hard Red Winter wheat production state of Kansas was largely unchanged from a week earlier, the situation in other Plains states – along with parts of the Midwest where the Soft Red Winter crop is grown - continued to deteriorate. Indeed, winter wheat emergence delays are noted in several states, including Nebraska where just one-third of the crop was emerged as of Sunday, compared to the five-year average of almost half.

In fact, topsoil moisture is currently rated at least 60% short to very short in each of the Plains States from Oklahoma northward.

Precipitation across the entire central Plains region was virtually non-existent over the last week, with only a few areas of light showers in portions of South Dakota and Nebraska. In eastern, southwestern and central Nebraska, severe drought expanded along with some expansion of moderate drought. Moderate, severe, and extreme drought also expanded in western Nebraska “as the entire state continues to dry out,” the monitor said.

Drought and abnormally dry conditions also expanded in portions of the Dakotas, with a new area of extreme drought developing in southeastern South Dakota.

In the Midwest, abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions also expanded over the last week in portions of Ohio, Indiana and southern Illinois, as much of the region saw little to no rainfall.

Meanwhile, forecasts do not appear promising. Weather in the Hard Red Winter wheat belt is expected to remain mainly dry over the next six to 10 days, with above-average temperatures.

Plains drought

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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