Anyone who monitors the U.S. Drought Monitor on a regular basis might have spotted something interesting this winter, according to Jed Lafferty, managing director of life sciences at Planalytics.
“At first glance, there are a lot of similarities between last year’s late January Drought Monitor and this year’s,” he says. “While it’s still a little early to determine whether these dry areas intensify or improve by the start of the planting season, a lot of weather watchers are looking at what happened last year to determine a trend.”
In particular, the Drought Monitor shows five distinct agricultural regions that are currently experiencing various levels of drought intensity. Here is what Planalytics has to say about each region:
1. In the Pacific Northwest, expect intensifying drought for the 2015 growing season, with hope of a moderate to strong El Niño possibly developing by 2016.
2. In California and the Southwest, expect similar circumstances as the PNW.
3. In the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa, don’t expect a repeat of last spring. April 2014 saw large portions of this area receiving 125% to 300% normal rainfall, leading to a lot of late planting. This year, intensifying dryness is more likely.
4. In Kansas, Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, the 2014 and 2015 Drought Monitor images have been very similar so far, with very dry conditions. Expect conditions to continue to trend similarly.
5. In the Mississippi Delta and Tennessee-Ohio Valleys, there has been a rather active southern storm track that is bringing adequate moisture to much of the Deep South and Southeast this year. April 2014 was very wet across the Deep South and could be a factor again this year.
How did winter shape up in your area? Share your thoughts on the "Winter 2014-15" thread on the AgWeb discussion boards.