Some states in the Corn Belt saw some improvement this week in their drought conditions. The Drought Monitor reports that the drought is still in full force despite winter storms moving through the Midwest, and that precipitation has only made a small dent in the dryness.
Farmers are concerned about planting crops that are at the right soil moisture levels as they approach planting season.
“Other parts of the Midwest have received snow, but we have been very dry so far,” says Kelly Garrett, an XtremeAg farmer from Arion, Iowa. “That means we can plant earlier, but I am concerned about the lack of subsoil moisture. I hope to have some moisture before we head to the field.”
Subsoil moisture can indicate yield. It is also important to consider whether there has been any precipitation in the spring or late winter. When the fall has been dry, pre-planting spring precipitation can bring moisture levels back to normal, according to Iowa State’s Department of Agronomy.
READ MORE: La Niña roars back; more drought is ahead
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor maps, Iowa’s drought acreage has decreased slightly. Only 28% of the state is in moderate drought. This area includes 46 counties located in the center of the state. The majority of the state’s counties reported experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Around 81% of the state reported experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse.
The southeast tip of the state received the most precipitation between February 15 and 22. It averaged 1.25 inches. The rest of the counties received almost no precipitation during the seven-day period.
Drought conditions in Illinois improved, with 8% more of the state reporting better conditions in this week’s drought maps. Two counties in the northeast corner reported severe drought conditions, which accounts for less than 1 percent of the state. Overall, 24% of the state reported experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse.
All of Illinois experienced at least some precipitation between February 15 and 22. The northern half of Illinois saw mild precipitation, ranging from.5 to 1.5 inches. The state’s southern half saw as much as 5 inches of precipitation in Alexander, Pulaski and other counties.
This week, Nebraska experienced worsening conditions. Only.05% remains without a drought warning in Nebraska, which is a part Richardson County. About 76% of the state is still under a moderate drought warning and more than 99% are abnormally dry or worse.
Between February 15th through February 22nd, Nebraska saw less than.5 inch of precipitation. The eastern half of Nebraska saw almost no precipitation while the western half received an averaging of.3 inches during the seven-day period.
This week, Indiana is drought-free. Since October 5, there have been no drought warnings in Indiana.
Between February 15 and 22, Indiana’s eastern border received more than 6 inches of precipitation. The average precipitation total for the rest of Indiana was about 2 inches.
Overall, Minnesota’s drought acreage decreased by 7%. Six northeastern counties reported severe drought, which accounts for 7% of the state. Many counties in the east and north of the state report areas that are moderately drought-prone, which is approximately 22% of the total state. 66% of the state reported conditions that were abnormally dry or worse.
Between February 15th and February 22nd, Minnesota’s northern half received 1.5 inches on average of precipitation. The southern half received almost no precipitation and averaged about.75 inches during the seven-day period.
Kansas saw almost no change in the drought acreage this week. About 6% in the state’s southwest corner are under severe conditions. 41% report moderate conditions. Overall, 86% reported abnormally dry conditions or worse.
Between February 15th and February 22 Kansas experienced almost no precipitation. The eastern edge recorded just over 4 inches of precipitation in their heaviest totals. Most of the eastern side reported between.5 and 1.5 inches.
South Dakota saw little change this week in drought conditions. 43% of the state reported moderate drought conditions. 22% of the state’s ten counties reported severe drought conditions. 81% of the state reported dry conditions or worse.
Most of the state received less than 1 inch of precipitation between February 15 and 22. The southeastern region of South Dakota received no precipitation during the seven-day period.
Ohio reported no drought conditions this past week. Since the beginning of 2022 there have been no drought conditions in Ohio. In fact, they have reported no worse than normal dry conditions since January 2020.
The state received 2 inches of rain on average between February 15 and 22. Clinton County received 3.5 ins of rain, the most rainfall in the seven-day period.
Missouri’s drought acreage drastically decreased this week. The state’s areas of severe and moderate drought that were reported last week make up 0% of this week’s state. Overall, 31% of the state experiences abnormally dry conditions. This is 14% more than the previous week.
The southeastern corner received nearly 7 inches of precipitation between February 15 and 22, while the southern half of Missouri received an average of 1.75 inch. The northern half received an average of.75 inches while the northern edge received almost no precipitation during the seven-day period.
Source: Successful Farming