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Drought to persist in key ag areas

John Walter Updated: 01/25/2012 @ 3:16pm

The most current drought outlook, released in this week's USDA crop weather bulletin, shows that the deep drought conditions plaguing large parts of the country are likely to continue into spring.

Large areas of the Southwest and Southeast, including much of Texas, Okalahoma, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, are expected to see drought either persisting or intensifying through a period lasting until April 30.

Other key agricultural areas showing persistent drought in the alert include the northwestern Corn Belt, centering on large parts of northwest Iowa and southern Minnesota.

Areas of improvement are seen in northern California, central Oregon and eastern Washington. Only small pockets in the Southern Plains and Southeast show promise of "some improvement" in the forecast.

One longer term forecast gives hope for plains farmers. A 31-60 day outlook released today by MDA EarthSat sees increased precipitation across the south central Plains.

"The wetter pattern in those areas will help to improve moisture supplies for wheat, while the
slightly drier pattern in the central and eastern Midwest will allow wetness there to ease a bit," said Don Keeney of EarthSat.

"The northern Plains and southern Prairies should be rather wet, which will help to further replenish moisture there ahead of spring planting," Keeney said.

Keeney also forecasts good moisture conditions for wheat in the Pacific Northwest during the 31-60 day period.




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