Dryness & Drought dominate the northern Plains

Across the Corn Belt, scattered showers and near- to below-normal temperatures are maintaining generally favorable growing conditions for corn and soybeans, especially from the states bordering the Mississippi River eastward. Among major production states, only South Dakota reported at least one-fifth of its corn (22%) and soybeans (23%) in very poor to poor condition on July 2.

On the Plains, cooler air is arriving across the Dakotas and Nebraska, although unfavorable dryness persists. However, hot, dry weather lingers across the High Plains. In Texas, cotton rated in good to excellent condition fell from 62 to 41% between June 11 and July 2. Also on the 2nd, more than half of South Dakota’s spring wheat (65%), winter wheat (63%), and rangeland and pastures (57%) were rated very poor to poor.

In the South, scattered showers and thunderstorms are slowing fieldwork but maintaining adequate to locally excessive soil moisture for pastures and summer crops. On July 2, pastures were rated at least 80% good to excellent in Kentucky and the Carolinas. However, topsoil moisture was rated 47% surplus in Alabama.

In the West, a significant heat wave is boosting irrigation requirements, stressing livestock, and maintaining an elevated risk of wildfires. In some areas, breezy conditions are hampering wildfire containment efforts, while lightning strikes are sparking new fires.

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