The USDA has produced some interesting slides for the World Agricultural Outlook Board, showing the current drought overlaid on production areas. The first two are about the U.S. corn production areas, then the soybean areas, and finally the cattle areas. Each pair of slides shows a map of the overlay, and a time series of the area affected by drought.
By July 24, about 89 percent of the corn production area was in drought. That percentage has been climbing steadily since early June. It’s the same story with 88 percent of the soybean production area and 73 percent of the cattle production area in drought.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor has expanded D3 “extreme” drought across Illinois. It went from 8 percent of the state last week to 71 percent this week. This major shift was based on a number of short-term drought indicators based on rainfall, streamflow, and temperature, as well as from widespread reports of significant crop and pasture losses.
According to the USDA …
The streamlined process provides for nearly an automatic designation for any county in which drought conditions, as reported in the U.S. Drought Monitor … when any portion of a county meets the D2 (Severe Drought) drought intensity value for eight consecutive weeks. A county that has a portion of its area in a drought intensity value of D3 (Extreme Drought) or higher at any time during the growing season also would be designated as a disaster area.
Earlier this week, the USDA NASS reported that 66 percent of the corn crop, 49 percent of the soybean crop, and 91 percent of pasture was rated poor to very poor. Topsoil was rated at 91 percent poor to very poor and subsoil was rated 97 percent poor to very poor. More details can be found in the weekly Illinois Weather and Crops report.
Based on data through yesterday, this July is shaping up to be one of the warmest and driest on record. Based on the forecast, this July is likely to remain as one of the warmest on record. My hope is that we get so much rain in the next week that we are not even close to the driest July on record.
Statewide Average Temperature Rankings for July in Illinois
1936: 83.1 ºF
2012: 81.8 ºF (as of July 30)
1901: 81.7 ºF
1934: 81.3 ºF
1916: 80.4 ºF
Statewide Average Rainfall Rankings for July in Illinois