Recent rains have eased drought across the majority of the Corn Belt, with the exceptions of Missouri and the Dakotas. And rains did help to ease the intensity of dryness in Missouri. “For the third consecutive week, large portions of the Midwest were inundated with heavy rainfall (2-8 inches), although this week the greatest rains fell along the Ohio River Valley after missing out the previous two weeks,” today’s Drought Monitor elaborated.
While too much rain did raise some concern about stalk health and disease in addition to delaying the start of harvest for some, the rainfall was quite beneficial for soybeans across the region that are still filling pods.
The monitor shows that nearly 20.0% of the Midwest is covered by abnormal drought or dryness, a 7.7-point improvement from the week prior. And 11.4% of that coverage falls in the least severe abnormal dryness (D0) category.
Iowa saw dryness in southern regions of the state contract notably over the past week, with just 6.4% of the state now covered by some form of dryness/drought versus 18.7% last week and 25.5% toward the start of the growing season.
Illinois also saw a big drop in drought/dryness coverage, with just 3.1% of the region now impacted by dryness/drought versus 24.4% last week. And Missouri enjoyed a 9.1-point retreat in overall drought/dryness coverage to 68.9%, with the intensity of that dryness easing.
But the Dakotas and northern Minnesota once again missed out on rains, with drought coverage climbing a few points as a result.
Cooler temperatures and some rainfall associated with a stalled cold front over the south-central Plains led to the lessening of drought across much of Texas, southern and northeastern Oklahoma and eastern Kansas as producers ready for winter wheat seeding.
The Monitor shows that 79.3% of Kansas is now free of drought/dryness, a 14.0-point improvement from last week and a major turnaround versus from mid-June when just 20.4% of the state was drought-free.
Texas also saw a big reduction in drought coverage and intensity, thanks in part to Tropical Storm Gordan. Today’s Drought Monitor shows 67.9% of the state is affected by some form of drought/dryness, but 21.3% of that is classified as abnormal dryness. That compares to a drought footprint of 80.1%, 15.8% of which was abnormal dryness the week prior.
Oklahoma saw more modest improvement in drought/dryness over the past week, with coverage falling from 43.3% to 39.2%.