After experiencing months of the worst drought conditions in more than 50 year, American farmers can breathe a sigh of relief as the extreme weather appears to be receding across the Midwest.
For most of the summer, Midwestern farmers experienced the worst drought conditions in a generation. With temperatures reaching record highs (some communities reported the hottest summer in recorded history) and rainfall at all-time lows, crop production across the Corn Belt suffered severely. Estimates indicate that crop insurance expenditures may have doubled since last year and some farmers have been forced to write off their summer harvest as a total loss.
The rainfall, therefore, comes as welcome relief. With downpours rolling across the Midwest, the U.S. Drought Monitor announced that the percentage of the 48 states still mired in some form of drought conditions decreased by a percentage point from last week. The numbers of communities still suffering from severe or extreme drought, however, fell more dramatically. In Iowa, the severe drought numbers improved by 12 percent, while Kansas and Missouri showed improvements of about 17 and 5 percent respectively.
While the rainfall is too late to do much to salvage the current corn harvest (which is 79 percent complete at this point), it may indicate a wetter fall and winter as many farmers transition into the winter wheat harvest.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer