Patches of dryness may dot the Northern Plains and Midwest, but this short-term drought has done little to stunt the region's thriving soybean and corn crops.
According to the USDA’s Ag in Drought Report, just 9 percent of the nation’s corn is growing within areas experiencing drought.
“Despite pockets of short-term dryness, overall conditions remained favorable for Midwestern corn and soybeans,” the USDA’s Brad Rippey wrote in this week’s Drought Monitor report.
Nearly two-thirds of the High Plains and around 90 percent of the Midwest are free from any drought, including abnormal dryness.
Rippey adds, “A lack of Midwestern heat stress has been instrumental in maintaining nearly ideal growing conditions. By August 3, nearly three-quarters of the U.S. corn (73 percent) and soybeans (71 percent) were rated in good to excellent conditions—the highest such ratings in August since 2004."
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack agrees. In a conference call with reporters talking about the farm bill and other issues, Vilsack believes farmers will harvest a “solid” crop this year, according to the Des Moines (Iowa) Register.
"We're anticipating a good crop, a solid crop, which is obviously different than where we've been the last couple of years," Vilsack told reporters.
Not all corn- and soybean-producing states are free from drought, however. The drought is still holding fast on the Southern Plains, including Texas and Oklahoma. Currently 35 percent of Texas and 48 percent of Oklahoma are in severe or worse drought.
Unfortunately for Texas, the National Weather Service doesn’t expect drought relief to come to the state through the end of October. Click here for the full Seasonal Drought Outlook.