USDA: Critically Dry Conditions on the Central Plains

August 21, 2012 03:18 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, mild, mostly dry weather prevails. "During the week ending Aug. 19, soybeans rated very poor to poor fell (improved) — on the strength of cooler weather and recent rainfall — five percentage points in Indiana, Michigan, and South Dakota," USDA explains. Even with the improvement, more than one-third (37%) of the U.S. soybeans are rated very poor to poor, including 45% in Indiana, 35% in Michigan, and 31% in South Dakota, according to USDA.

In the West, USDA says several large wildfires remain active, primarily from northern California to the northern Rockies. "However, Northwestern heat also favors fieldwork, including small grain harvesting," USDA adds.

On the Plains, USDA reports beneficial showers linger in parts of Oklahoma and Texas. "Meanwhile, hot weather continues to expand across the northern Plains, where small grain harvesting is nearing completion," USDA explains. Elsewhere, critically dry conditions persist on the central Plains, where nearly all of the rangeland and pastures are rated very poor to poor in Nebraska (93% very poor to poor) and Kansas (92%), according to USDA.

In the South, USDA says showers continue in the southern Atlantic states. "On Aug. 19, at least 40% of the pastures were rated in good to excellent condition in every Gulf and Atlantic Coast state from Louisiana to Virginia — led by Florida with 83% good to excellent," USDA explains. In stark contrast, USDA says drought remains entrenched across the Mid-South, where nearly all of the pastures are rated very poor to poor in Missouri (99%) and Arkansas (85%).

In its outlook, USDA says during the next several days, scattered showers will linger in the vicinity of the Gulf and southern Atlantic Coasts. "Shower activity will begin to increase across the Plains and western Corn Belt starting on Aug. 23," USDA notes. Toward week’s end, cooler air will overspread the Northwest, while the remainder of the U.S. will experience near- to above-normal temperatures, according to USDA. "Tropical Depression Nine, currently east of the Lesser Antilles, is expected to strengthen and could threaten the southeastern U.S. next week," USDA reports.


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