Drought continues to plague a large part of rural America. DTN meteorologist John Baranick says farm country continues baking in the heat and dry weather.
Baranick says, “We are. It really built up from mid-May to mid-June. We just saw plenty of rain out in the Western Plains. We saw it across the South, and just missed almost all of the Corn Belt. And so, we ended up using up all our subsoil moisture early on, and that’s why we’ve seen so much drought across the Corn Belt here over the summer, and it hasn’t gone away. We’ve been able to pick apart at it since then.”
Several sections in rural America have seen some rainfall, it just hasn’t been consistent according to Baranick. “We’ve had some good rainfall events in some areas, but with really no subsoil moisture to live off of, that drought’s going to be sticky here for the rest of the season. But you know, over the last few weeks, we’ve had some really good rainfall. We’re near or above normal for a lot of areas. There are some areas that kind of missed out on a lot of that, but that’s kind of what we were expecting for the summer season. We’re expecting a lot of this variable rainfall and plenty of showers and thunderstorms moving through but coming in little complexes instead of major systems moving through. So, it’s a lot of kind of haves and have-nots as they move through and come in variable times. And it’s all about timing right now, since we don’t have that subsoil moisture. Getting it into the right spots at the right time, it’s just really, really important.”
Farmers and ranchers in parts of the Plains have seen a little more consistent rainfall.
Baranick says, “The Drought Monitor doesn’t seem to show it, but I mean, if you look at Nebraska and Kansas, we’ve seen near or above-normal precipitation for most of that region going back through the last six weeks or so, or even longer. So, we still see a lot of drought on that map, but it’s kind of questionable as to whether or not that truly exists there”
Intense heat has made it difficult to put any rainfall to good use recharging the soil moisture in farm country. He says, “In the background has been the heat, and that’s really pumped up this week. It’s been kind of really intense, honestly. And then we’re starting to see that spread across more of the Corn Belt here. That’s one of the things, I think, limiting the drought reduction is we still have a whole bunch of heat, and so every time we get rain – again, we don’t have the subsoil moisture – it’s just being used up right away. We’re not able to get rid of the drought, but more maintain decent conditions, I think.”