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Seasonal Drought Outlook Suggests Timely Western Corn Belt Rains Will be Needed

March 21, 2013
By: Julianne Johnston, Pro Farmer Digital Managing Editor

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) signals in its Seasonal Drought Outlook that further drought improvement is expected across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, with drought expected to persist but improve somewhat across Nebraska, Kansas and the eastern half of Oklahoma. Meanwhile, drought is expected to persist across Texas and the Southwest.

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While it notes a more favorable forecast is leading to expectations for some improvement across the western Corn Belt and Central Plains, it notes that prospects for drought improvement decrease further south across the Southern High Plains and Texas. "Drought is forecast to persist for much of the West and expand across northern California and southern Oregon," it states. "During the past two months, major improvement occurred across Georgia and South Carolina where additional improvement is expected. Drought is forecast to persist or develop across the Florida peninsula but it will likely be short-lived as the rainy season typically begins during June," the Monitor continues.

The outlook suggests the drought footprint across the Corn Belt will continue to shrink but that drought will linger in some areas, especially in Nebraska and the Central Plains. As forecasts have signaled recently, there will be enough moisture to get the crop started this spring, but areas of the western Corn Belt will need timely rains to sustain crops as deep soil moisture reserves have not been replenished.

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