U.S. Wheat Crop Worries Build as Drought Expands in Plains, West
As of April 2, the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor issued by state and federal agencies stated that approximately 36% of the High Plains from Kansas to North Dakota is considered to be in moderate to exceptional drought – up from 28% the week before.
The U.S. Drought Monitor states, "Much-above-normal temperatures accelerated crop-water demands on the Plains and further reduced already-dire mountain snowpacks over much of the West…." The central and southern Plains have received 33% less rain than normal, with Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas already seeing temperatures as high as 90 degrees in early April.
Pressure is intensifying on the hard red wheat crop in the U.S. Plains just as the crop is advancing into its key growth phase. As the wheat planted last fall in Kansas is coming out of dormancy and setting heads, authorities report that the condition of the state’s crop has slipped five points during March to a point where 39% is rated in good to excellent condition.
Private weather forecasters indicate that the southern belt will remain dry, with the northern reaches of the belt in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska forecast to receive a half an inch of rain or less.