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334486

321.6 million acres of crops are experiencing drought in the U.S.

Drought intensified in many top corn growing states this week. Dry, dusty harvesting conditions create higher fire risks as crops come out of the field. Nationally, 321.6 million acres of crops are experiencing drought. 31.6 million beef cattle around the country are experiencing drought. Nearly 650 counties have drought declarations.

Illinois

Matt Swanson farms in west central Illinois. He’s thankful for a “little shot of rain Wednesday night, but it barely settled the dust.” Harvest in Hancock County is progressing quickly. Soybeans are dry and green, he says.

The latest maps show a pocket of D2 severe drought emerged in southern Illinois this week. The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) reports poor row crop conditions and low hay yield in this region.

D1 moderate drought increased slightly and is now present in three parts of the state, covering more than 8% of Illinois acreage. Drought stress is evident in row crops and pastures, says NDMC.

Map of Illinois drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Abnormally dry acreage surged more than 10% in Illinois to more than 37% of the state during the reporting period that ended October 4.

Just over 53% of Illinois was free of moisture stress according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor maps.

Monday’s Crop Progress Report rated Illinois topsoil moisture condition 11% very short, 38% short, 51% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 12% very short, 31% short, 56% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Of Illinois’ 102 counties, 2 have USDA disaster designations.

Texas

Although drought conditions in Texas have improved significantly in the last three months, pockets of D4 exceptional drought are still present across more than 1% of the state. NDMC reports widespread crop loss, dead rangeland, and extreme sensitivity to fire danger in these areas.

Since January 1, Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire departments have responded to 10,025 wildfires for 632,124 acres across the state. "2022 is the most significant year for wildfire activity to occur in Texas since 2011," says a Texas A & M Forest Service spokesperson. "It is difficult to compare fire seasons, especially by just the numbers, and no two are the same."

D3 extreme drought spans more than 12% of The Lone Star State, up from about 8% the week prior. Dust and sand storms are occurring in this area, says NDMC.

Nearly 30% of Texas is suffering from D2 severe drought, up from about 23% the week prior. Soils are hard, hindering winter wheat planting, reports NDMC.

Just shy of 28% of Texas is experiencing D1 moderate drought.

Abnormally dry acres cover about 18% of Texas.

About 11% of Texas reported no moisture stress in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor Report.

Map of Texas drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Monday’s Crop Progress Report rated topsoil moisture condition 40% short, 28% short, 32% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 42% very short, 41% short, 16% adequate, and 1% surplus.

So far, 2022 is the 11th driest year on record for the state.

Of Texas’ 254 counties, 245 have USDA disaster designations.

Minnesota

Drought also intensified in Minnesota over the reporting period ending Oct. 4. Much of the state saw its first frost of the season in late September or early October. Data published alongside Monday’s Crop Progress Report shows many western counties have recently experienced temperatures slightly above normal while eastern counties have trended slightly cooler than average.

For the first time since Dec. 2021, D3 extreme drought is on the state map. NDMC reported emergency grazing in the region. Surface waters are near record lows in this part of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Map of Minnesota drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

D2 severe drought acreage increased to over 7%. 

D1 moderate drought spans more than 23% of the state, up from about 18% the week prior.

Abnormally dry conditions cover an additional 42% of Minnesota.

Less than 23% of the state is free of moisture stress.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 8% very short, 29% short, 61% adequate, and 2% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies in Minnesota were rated 8% very short, 26% short, 64% adequate, and 2% surplus.

Of Minnesota’s 87 counties, 7 have USDA disaster designations.

Wisconsin

Parts of northern Wisconsin experienced a killing frost the week ending Oct. 2. Statewide, there was little precipitation which allowed farmers about six days suitable for harvesting hay, corn silage, and soybeans.

Wisconsin’s D2 severe drought in the northwest crept up to cover almost 4% of the state. NDMC reports pasture growth is sparse and livestock are being removed from grazing in this area.

Map of Wisconsin drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

D1 moderate drought spans more than 9% of the state. Hay prices are high in this area, says NDMC.

Much of northern and western Wisconsin is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

About 46% of The Badger State is free of moisture stress.

Topsoil moisture supplies were rated 2% very short, 14% short, 78% adequate, and 6% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies in Wisconsin were rated 1% very short, 15% short, 80% adequate, and 4% surplus.

None of Wisconsin’s 72 counties have disaster designations.

Iowa

“Iowa farmers are moving full speed ahead with corn and soybean harvest across the state,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig on Monday. “Though portions of northern Iowa received its first widespread freeze last week, drier, and warmer conditions are expected to persist for the foreseeable future and farmers should remain vigilant about combine and field fire risks.”

Map of Iowa drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

For the fifth week in a row, D4 exceptional drought persisted in a sliver of Woodbury County, and accounts for less than 1% of Iowa’s acreage.

Steady at just over 5%, there was no change in D3 extreme drought across Iowa in the latest report. In this area pastures are dry, producers are selling cattle, crops are being tested for toxins, and crops have pest infestation, says NDMC.

D2 severe drought increased to cover more than 20% of The Hawkeye State.

D1 moderate drought acreage jumped to 26%.

Abnormally dry conditions cover about 33% of the state.

Portions of northeast and eastern, totaling about 15%, of Iowa are free of moisture stress.

Kelly Garrett farms in Crawford County where conditions are presently rated moderate drought and abnormally dry. 

“We were not as dry as some other areas, but I wouldn’t characterize this year as anywhere near normal when it comes to precipitation,” he says. “It was a tough year for all crops, but we learned a few things about mitigating stress that will become standard practice for our farm next season.”

USDA rated topsoil moisture condition 17% very short, 36% short, 46% adequate, and 1% surplus in the latest Crop Progress Report. Subsoil moisture condition was rated 22% very short, 35% short, 42% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Of Iowa’s 99 counties, 12 have USDA disaster designations.

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