The most recent Seasonal Drought Outlook indicates much of the area from southwest Minnesota to western Missouri through most of the Great Plains and Rockies will continue to experience drought conditions through the winter season. However, some improvement is expected on the eastern fringe of this area from North Dakota into Minnesota and Wisconsin, eastern Iowa into eastern Missouri.
The Midwest drought, the worst since 1956, sent corn prices to record highs earlier this year and choked traffic on the Mississippi River as water levels fell. It is now blamed for the worst crop conditions for U.S. winter wheat in at least 27 years, which will affect feed costs for cattle producers in the Great Plains.
In Kansas, the biggest grower of winter wheat, there has been little or no rain for a month to nourish newly planted crops that go dormant until about March and are harvested in June. Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade are up 32 percent this year, the biggest gain among the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index.
At least 58.8 percent of the contiguous 48 states are currently covered by drought, with 6 percent of the region in the worst category of dryness, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska.
- Climate Outlook and Summary for the Central United States for the Upcoming Winter Season
- Will drought stretch into 2013?
- U.N. warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013
- Drought Expected to Persist Through February in Great Plains