Short-term dryness increased stress on summer crops in the western Corn Belt, despite favorable temperatures. Most other sections of the Midwest received adequate rainfall, leaving nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of the Nation’s corn and soybeans in good to excellent condition by August 4.
Meanwhile, heavy showers soaked much of the eastern one-third of the United States, hampering fieldwork but maintaining abundant moisture reserves for pastures and summer crops. However, record-setting July rainfall totals were observed in parts of the Southeast, primarily from Florida to Virginia, causing some problems with respect to row crops due to flash flooding, standing water, and submerged lowlands.
Parts of the Southwest also received locally heavy rain, courtesy of a robust monsoon circulation. In the Four Corners States, showers caused local flash flooding but eased irrigation demands and benefited drought-stressed rangeland and pastures. Farther north, hot weather and infrequent showers promoted crop development and fieldwork, including Northwestern winter wheat harvesting.
In fact, heat dominated much of the West and Northeast, while near-to below-normal temperatures covered the remainder of the country. Aside from a brief, mid-month surge of heat, Midwestern temperatures were nearly ideal for the reproduction of summer crops. Toward month’s end, building heat brought renewed stress to rangeland, pastures, and rain-fed summer crops on the southern Plains.
Elsewhere, portions of the High Plains continued to deal with the effects of long-term drought, despite sporadic July showers. Ongoing soil moisture shortages were reflected in crop conditions, which included nearly one-third (31 percent) of the Texas cotton being rated very poor to poor on August 4.
Photo credit: D. Michaelsen, Inputs Monitor