Ag Weather Forum

Drought Intensifies in Delta, Southeast States

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist

The harvest is winding down in the Midwest and Northern Plains under very favorable weather conditions with above- to much-above-normal temperatures and little rainfall. Only in some of the wet areas of the Upper Midwest would producers like some colder weather to solidify the ground to make it easier to harvest.

Of more significance at this time is the intensifying drought in the Delta and Southeast states. Short to very short topsoil moisture is running between 80 and 90% in most areas. Macon county in Alabama is reporting an all-time record for consecutive days without rain. Many producers have stopped planting winter wheat and the crop that is already planted is showing little growth. With little rain in the forecast during the next seven to 10 days, along with episodes of above- to much-above-normal temperatures, this situation is expected to worsen. Very dry conditions have also expanded northward towards the Ohio River. It will be interesting see if drought conditions break down this winter. If not, we could be entering the 2017 growing season with some significant drought concerns.

Dryness is also intensifying over western portions of the Southern Plains winter wheat belt. Short to very short topsoil moisture is running at 55 to 65%. Crop ratings continue to decrease in Colorado and Nebraska, were unchanged in Kansas and up a little in Oklahoma and Texas. Little relief from dry weather and above- to much-above-normal temperatures are expected in these western areas during the next seven to 10 days. Soil moisture conditions over eastern areas remain mostly adequate.

South American weather looks very favorable at this time with increasing rainfall in central Brazil for developing soybeans and less rainfall in southern Brazil and central Argentina favoring planting.

Mike Palmerino can be reached at



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