The Drought Monitor map is full of colors and lines indicating widespread drought conditions throughout the Corn Belt and the nation.
Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center based in Nebraska, tells Brownfield there is rightly a lot of concern among farmers in the Corn Belt.
“We’ve really seen a lot of dryness throughout Indiana and into central Illinois and parts of Missouri,” Fuchs tells Brownfield, “As you get into the southern reaches of the Corn Belt, really, southern Illinois, Indiana, western Kentucky and the ‘Bootheel’ region of Missouri — that’s really one of the areas that’s one of the worse off up to this point.”
Fuchs says the Central Plains and Eastern Rockies drought has taken a turn for the worse in the last few months.
“With the elevated temperatures and below normal precipitation, it’s really taken a toll on forage production for ranchers and has also started impacting some of the yield of the wheat crop,” Fuchs says.
With the corn crop nearing that critical period of pollination in late June and early July, he says, there’s elevated concern.
Fuchs says, “Along with the warm temperatures and drought stress it could start impacting yields and we’re going to have to really watch some of the crop surveys as they get done- the initial ones early in the summer – to see what the extent of that damage is going to be.”
Fuchs says there are also extreme drought conditions in the Central Rockies, Desert Southwest, and Great Basin of the Western states mostly because of reduced snowpack this past winter.
Meanwhile, there are flooding concerns in the Duluth, Minnesota area.