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Drought monitor reveals mixed toll for Corn Belt, Delta farmers

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Drought monitor reveals mixed toll for Corn Belt, Delta farmers

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows prolonged drought has improved in parts of the Corn Belt and Delta, but has worsened across the Great Plains.

Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center says many areas have been in drought since last year’s harvest. “You’re really looking at places in southwest Nebraska, a lot of western Kansas and even northeast Nebraska, northwest Iowa and southeast South Dakota. There are only these pockets that have been consistently dry for 12-plus months.”

Extreme drought has spread across northeastern and southwestern Nebraska and western Kansas. Severe drought has spread in Iowa and parts of Missouri. In Nebraska, nearly 63% of the state is in severe drought or worse, just under 28% in severe drought or worse, and more than 10% in extreme drought.

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

Fuchs says the sudden drought that developed in the Eastern Corn Belt has improved, but could affect yields. “It will be interesting that even though the end of the growing season was pretty decent in the eastern part of the Corn Belt. What was the effect of those two weeks of hot and dry conditions during those critical periods of pollination and capsule filling time.’

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

He says drought areas in the delta have improved slightly, but “moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions still persist.” It’s going to be one of the pieces in the country — once these widespread crops are on these grounds — just to see the exact impact on how these crops have held up through hot and dry periods.”

Spots of moderate to severe drought have occurred in Central Arkansas.

The share of drought in the United States has decreased to 37 percent, but almost a quarter of the country remains in severe or worse condition.

Brian Fuchs, author of the National Drought Monitor:

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