Mother Nature always seems to have a trick or two up her sleeve. Typically, the prevalent weather-related problem for farmers during the growing season is overly dry weather. That’s definitely not the case in 2019, however.
This spring’s planting season has been marred by rampant flooding problems across large portions of the Midwest and Plains. Drought’s footprint, meantime, steadily diminished throughout the spring, bottoming out in mid-May and mostly holding steady since that time.
Per the latest updates to the U.S. Drought Monitor, overly dry conditions are currently affecting just over 10% of the country – up from a record of 8.84% a month ago but still historically low. Currently, the primary areas affected include portions of the Southeast, Pacific Northwest and parts of northern North Dakota.
“Locally heavy rain (more than 2 inches) and hundreds of severe weather reports were common across the central and southern Great Plains, middle to upper Mississippi Valley, and Ohio Valley during mid-June,” according to Brad Pugh, NOAA climatologist who prepared this week’s report. “Excessively wet conditions continue to slow the emergence of corn and soybeans across the Corn Belt. Meanwhile, drought intensified across northern North Dakota due to a lack of rainfall since April.”
In the Midwest, just 3.1% of the region is currently under drought conditions, versus 15.5% a year ago. And in the Plains, 5.9% of the region is under drought conditions, compared to 49.2% at the same time last year.
Looking ahead, Pugh notes enhanced odds for above-normal precipitation in the 6-to-10-day forecasts across large portions of the eastern U.S., Ohio/Tennessee/Mississippi River valleys as well as the Southern Great Plains.
Further out, NOAA anticipates wetter-than-normal weather probable throughout July for a large portion of the central U.S., including most of the western Corn Belt and Central Plains. Below-normal temperatures are also likely across most of the Corn Belt next month.