Drought spreads to 53.6 million acres of corn

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As rains transformed Colorado from drought to deluge, further to the east the drought deepened.

click image to zoomDrought MonitorThe Drought Monitor map released on Sept. 19, 2013. According to the latest “Drought Monitor” report, drought progressed further into the eastern Corn Belt.  From Minnesota to Missouri, from Nebraska to Indiana, the drought is clinging to what has been a hot, dry end to the summer.

In Iowa, the country’s top corn- and soybean-producing state, 42 percent is in severe drought, unchanged from last week. Other states attempting to ride out what climatologists originally called a “flash drought” include Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.

An updated “Ag in Drought” report shows that 55 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is now within an area experiencing drought. Given that U.S. producers planted an estimated 97.4 million acres of corn, this suggest that nearly 53.6 million acres of corn are affected by drought.

However, the latest U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook released on Thursday did little to ease drought worries. With the exception of a small pocket of the Plains that is expected to be drought-free by the end of the year, the drought is expected to persist in most areas.

Mother Nature did come through for some states, though these states paid a steep price to alleviate the drought. Colorado made national news this week after days of torrential downpours swept through the northern half of the state. Currently, 65 percent of the state is in moderate or worse drought, down from 93 percent last week.

Outside of spotty showers, however, the Drought Monitor showed little relief for states further to the west. In California, 90 percent of the state is in severe or extreme drought, down slightly from 93 percent reported last week.

Click here to read the full Drought Monitor map.

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