Drought rears its ugly head across region unusually early

Once again, drought threatens the Upper Midwest. There are serious concerns about how planting and pastures will be affected. What's particularly worrisome is that drought has struck even before the growing season has begun.

 

By Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

Apr. 5, 2021

 

Tom Bernhardt has heard plenty about drought in recent weeks.

 

"It seems like everywhere you go, people are talking about it, and it's kind of scary," said Bernhardt, a Linton, N.D., farmer and rancher and president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association.

 

Though generalizing is risky, that concern is shared to varying degrees across the Upper Midwest. On an even bigger scale, there's growing anxiety about the so-called "mega-drought," which has parched roughly three-quarters of the entire western United States, with about 40% of the region in extreme drought or worse.

 

In the Upper Midwest and elsewhere, spring planting is nearing and livestock soon will begin spring grazing. That leads to worries whether fields will hold enough moisture for newly planted seed to develop properly and whether spring pastures will produce enough grass to feed livestock.

 

"It's getting pretty critical. If we don't get rain in the next few weeks, a lot of the grass just isn't going to start growing," affecting both pastures and hayfields, said James Halvorson, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association...

 

The drought maps say ...

 

National perspective ...

 

Iowa not immune ...

 

Livestock concerns ...

 

Crop perspective ...

 

more, including photos, video report [1:14 min.]

https://www.agweek.com/business/agriculture/6946759-Drought-rears-its-ugly-head-across-region-%E2%80%94-unusually-early