After weeks of improvement, the latest Drought Monitor update indicated that as of last week, 60.1% of the lower 48 states were in some form of drought, up from 58.8% the prior week with the area in the worst two categories, extreme or exceptional rising from 18.3 to 19.04%.
This comes at a time when U.S. winter wheat conditions are at their worst point for this time of year since the USDA started tracking crop ratings back in 1986.
Meanwhile, there is a lot of controversy about how to deal with extremely low water levels on the nation’s main riverways, also directly attributable to this year’s drought.
Given this situation were curious as to which of the key growing states was most deficient in moisture.
This graphic shows the cumulative June-October precipitation for the top 21 corn and soybean growing states and that moisture as a percent of the 1950-2011 average.
The state that is in the more dire condition is Nebraska where the June-Oct rainfall of less than five inches is a mere 37% of the 13.3 inches they normally receive over this time.
Other states with severe deficiencies in moisture include SD at 51.9% of normal, KS at 60.7% and IA at 61.1%.
On the other hand, the Delta states have fared very well resulting in many record corn and soybean yields for this region of the country.
MS leads the way at 133% of normal June-Oct rains followed up by LA at 121%, and TN at 115%.
States in the Eastern Corn Belt that had moisture deficiencies at mid-year have also seen a vast improvement with PA at 114% and OH at 111%, though the Western Corn Belt remains much drier.
Needless to say, those states that have received 80% or less of normal rainfall will have to be monitored in the coming months ahead of 2013 row crop plantings.