Those areas that have seen the lightest rains are starting to see some drought conditions develop in portions of the eastern belt, the Delta, and in the northwestern belt.
Weather & Soil Data
U.S. Drought Monitor
The drought monitors show drought ongoing in the southwestern plains, although Nebraska has had some moisture, they are still under drought conditions.
Calculated Soil Moisture
Soil moisture rankings are extremely dry in the central and western plains and very wet in the southern and eastern belt and very wet in the far northern plains.
U.S. Drought Monitor
Drought continues to expand in the central and western plains while virtually no drought is in place across the central eastern belt as well as the Ohio Valley.
Also, up in North Dakota in the far northern plains a drought has been removed based on rain and snow totals.
Drought Monitor vs. Last Year
This year as of March 29th shown on the left side and last year as of March 30th on the right side.
Although drought conditions were severe out in the far southwestern US last year, we had very little drought in the plain states.
This year quite different much of the US plains is suffering from drought conditions and that is affecting the hard red winter wheat crop.
As we approach the Springtime, we had severe droughts in North Dakota and adjacent areas of Montana and South Dakota last year.
Much of that drought has been reduced, the exception would be in Montana where severe drought is in place.
Average High Temperatures for April 4th
Temperatures are about 70 degrees or better in the far south where planting has already begun.
Temperatures in the 60s from Kansas, Missouri, even southern Illinois which would be normal in the far southern portions of the belt. This is the area that would like to be planting right now if the soil conditions would allow.
Average high temperatures still in the 50s for much of Iowa and northern Illinois, even southern Minnesota and South Dakota, they’ll have to wait until mid to late April to get started with planting in the north.
U.S Drought Monitor
We see those drought conditions are very prominent in the western corn belt and the central and southern plains. That’s why the rainfall that came in last night and the rainfall that is expected will be very important as we head towards spring.
Soil Moisture Anomaly
This Shows that we have drought conditions in the southwestern plains, dryness building in the western belt, and also a surplus of soil moisture in portions of the eastern belt and Ohio valley.
All these charts and graphs utilize much of the same data but come to the same conclusion. Its wetter than desired in the eastern belt and Ohio valley and dryer than desired in the western belt and in the plains.
Its only mid-March but again the trade will start to watch these conditions more carefully as we approach early April and the start of planting season.