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'Various stages' of drought

11/04/2011 @ 9:43am

One has to still be quite optimistic about the chances of another round of significant precipitation for early next week in the hard-red winter wheat belt of the southern Plains, which will again serve to emphasize the point that one could envision a lot worse scenario for the crop in that area heading into winter versus what we actually have on our hands.

Some rain may start to fall already by Sunday night in far eastern parts of that area, but it is Monday through a part of Tuesday when the storm really takes shape. Everyone is going to get at least some moisture from the system, and for central and eastern parts of the growing area the totals look to be quite significant; at least a half inch for central and eastern parts of Kansas and areas of Texas and Oklahoma to the east of the panhandles, but as you go further east you will see a lot of totals that exceed an inch.

Again I want to emphasize that this is not an event that is going to break the extreme/historic drought conditions in this area, but is certainly going to give the young winter wheat crop another round of beneficial moisture that it needs going into winter. The crop will probably go into dormancy in pretty decent shape (and likely there is going to be enough growth for winter grazing of the crop in some areas), and we will thus have a chance at a decent crop next year (though obviously that all depends on what moisture is like next spring).

This same storm system is also going to be of great benefit to the western Corn Belt where things have been drying out so much as of late. The Drought Monitor map released yesterday showed various stages of drought over Iowa, eastern Nebraska, Kansas, western/northern Missouri, and west-central Illinois, but that same area is forecast to get hit hard by 1 to 2-plus inches of rain for Monday and Tuesday of next week.

This is a good time of year to put some moisture back into the soil in that area, as the ground has yet to freeze up, daylight hours are short, and plant life is not using much moisture right now either.


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