Despite some rain falling in the Southern Plains, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor does not show much improvement.
“When you think about what this map had on it three months ago, there was not nearly as much of a the yellow and orange [areas] showing up,” says AgDay meteorologist Mike Hoffman.
The Midwest experienced some heavy precipitation since the last drought monitor was released, but many of those soakers missed areas in the Eastern Corn Belt that are now sliding into abnormally dry conditions.
“Despite rain in my parts of Indiana and southern Illinois, those areas got drier since last week,” Hoffman says. “We will have to see how that works in the long run.”
The worst areas continue to be along the border of Colorado and New Mexico, western Oklahoma, western Kansas and northwest Texas. There are also areas of concern in northern California and southwest and north-central Oregon.
“Drought [is] obviously a little more of a concern than it was two or three months ago,” Hoffman says.
A farmer in Nevada, Iowa, received rain this week and he embraced it.
“We’re blessed,” says Tim Couser, a farmer in Nevada, Iowa. “This rain is awesome. This is probably one of the most ideal weather years we’ve had, at least that I can remember.”
Afterall, it’s better than past years.
“The beans are starting to flower,” he says. “Now, we put a drink on top of them. They’re happy.”
Meteorologists say “favorable weather,” which includes timely rains and little extreme heat, might stick around for a while in most of the Corn Belt, especially to the East.
“It does look like we are transitioning into a somewhat wetter weather pattern over the next 10 days or more,” says Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist. “We should see pretty widespread Midwestern rainfall totals over the next 10 days on the order of 1” to 3” or more.”
Rippey says temperatures averaged 5 to 10 degrees above normal last week from the Central Plains to the Upper Midwest. He believes that’s mostly over now.
“It doesn’t look like we are looking at any extreme Midwestern heat for the rest of June or into early July,” Rippey adds. “That’s really important because some of those earlier planted crops in the Western Corn Belt will be entering reproduction fairly soon.”
Despite the latest drought monitor showing expanding dryness in parts of the Corn Belt, Rippey expects a good procession of fronts are on the way. That will help knock down heat and bring more rain.
While not an issue now, a problem might occur further in the Western Corn Belt.
“Areas of greatest concern at this point for hotter and drier summer weather would be in the Dakotas, extending southward throughout Nebraska and into Kansas,” Rippey says.
He recognizes the few dry spots and flash flooding but says 2020 conditions are better than last year at this point.
“Coming off of 2019, which is one of the toughest years we’ve had, it was a blessing to have a break in the weather,” Couser says.