Drought areas shrink in many top corn-growing states

The drought monitor released March 23 showed reduced drought in some of the top corn growing states as spring fieldwork gets underway. Drought continues to be particularly problematic in North Dakota, Colorado, and Texas.

Drought areas shrunk slightly in the No. 1 corn growing state. However, about 2% of Iowa is still suffering from extreme drought. Southeastern counties reported no moisture stress as of March 23.

Across the Mississippi River to the east, in Illinois, drought areas also shrunk. The moderate drought conditions in the center of the state from the week prior were relieved thanks to more than an inch of precipitation. At the same time, abnormally dry conditions in the northeast corner of the state spread slightly.

Map of precipitation in Illinois
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Severe drought in Nebraska shrunk by 2% since the previous drought monitor report, but still consumes 7% of the state, primarily in the southwest corner. In total, 66% of the Cornhusker state is facing some sort of moisture stress.

March 23 marked the second week of little change in Minnesota. About 1% of the state, the extreme southwest and northwestern counties, face severe drought. The entire state is abnormally dry or worse.

Moderate drought conditions grew in northern Indiana to cover about 14% of the state. The southern half of the Hoosier state reported no dryness as of March 23.

All extreme drought was eliminated from the most recent Kansas drought monitor map. Severe drought areas shrunk significantly and are now isolated to parts of two northwestern counties and three southwestern counties. Many Kansas counties reported an inch of rain or more between March 16 and 23.

Map of Kansas precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

South Dakota missed the precipitation that brought relief to many other corn growing states. The entire state is still suffering from abnormally dry conditions, or worse. About 40% of South Dakota is in severe drought as farmers there prepare for planting season.

In Ohio, moderate drought in the northeast part of the state grew. However, overall, drought stress in the state shrank by about 10%. The southern half of the state continues to have sufficient moisture.

For the first time this spring, Missouri reported no drought conditions. In fact, some parts of the state recorded more than 3 inches of rain between March 16 and 23.

Map of Missouri precipitation
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Abnormally dry conditions grew across Wisconsin, covering 99% of the state. Only a small portion of Grant county is free from moisture stress.

Across the Great Lakes in Michigan, moderate drought conditions jumped farther north, now consuming 18% of the state. About 79% of the state is abnormally dry.

For the fourth straight week, Kentucky reported no drought conditions.

Extreme drought spread to cover 27% of North Dakota. The entire state is suffering from moderate drought, or worse this spring.

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

Drought also grew more severe in parts of Texas. About 7% is suffering from exceptional drought. Less than 10% of the Lone Star state reported no drought conditions.

There was little change in Tennessee’s drought conditions since the last report. The abnormally dry areas are still isolated to two spots covering less than 4% of the state.

Pennsylvania’s abnormally dry conditions in the northwest corner of the state expanded slightly to cover about 15% of the state.

A band of precipitation cutting through the center of the state from north to south reduced the severity of some drought conditions in Colorado, but the entire state continues to struggle with moisture stress. Exceptional drought still covers 15% of the state.

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

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