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Nebraskans, Prepare for a Continued Dry Summer

July 26, 2013
drought soil

There's no indication that conditions will improve, but they shouldn't get worse either, says a state climatologist.

Courtesy of University of Nebraska - Lincoln

As abnormal dryness continues to expand eastward, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, forecasts are not showing any indication of above or below normal precipitation through October, the state climatologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said.

There is no signal of improving conditions, but there is nothing there that signals conditions will get worse either, said Al Dutcher, state climatologist in the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

However, current patterns tend to be replicating some of the patterns the state saw last July and August. Temperatures are forecast to be above normal for the southwest two-thirds of the state and equal chances for the remainder of the state. This may be good news for northeast Nebraska which needs to make up some crop maturation due to planting delays.

"I would be more concerned if I saw a cool bias, which I do not," Dutcher said.

Due to the cool, wet spring, crops are about 10-14 days behind normal across the state. The majority of the corn crop is coming into its pollination stage, making precipitation critical at this time and through the grain fill process.

Dutcher said recent stream flows also have dropped significantly even with some of the short-term moisture gains the state saw this spring.

"Although we've had short-term moisture gains, it did not fill that deep soil moisture profile below the rooting zone of a crop that moves toward the aquifer," he said. "This is a residual impact of last year's drought, which had a significant impact on aquifer levels. We didn't get the recovery we needed last year."

Irrigation is running around the clock across the state, but there is some concern in areas with lower flow rates, particularly in sandy soils.

In addition, areas with limited water deliveries make it difficult to apply enough water to carry average yields.

Dutcher said temperatures have been a saving grace so far this year.

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