Drought Growing, Shrinking as we Approach Spring


By John Baranick, DTN Meteorologist

It had a lot to do with the outcome of the 2021 crop, but drought will again be the largest concern for the 2022 crop as well. And that is because as of Feb. 15, 72.6% of the lower 48 states is in some category of drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. That includes 11.9% of the country in the highest two categories of drought.

Much of the drought is situated over the western half of the country, including large wheat areas in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the Plains. But those western states also produce a lot of corn and soybeans. Even in the drought-affected areas last year, the states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas produced over 23% of the total corn crop and over 20% of the total soybean crop based on the latest numbers from USDA. Sure, the drought in Nebraska and Kansas came on late in the season, so the drought did not have as much of an impact in these two states as in the Dakotas. But the area affected by drought in 2021 also included much of Minnesota and parts of Iowa, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Drought remains in these states as well. These are much higher production areas of the country for corn and soybeans, so all three crops are under the influence of drought going into planting season.

Read more of Baranick’s commentary from our partners at DTN/Progressive Farmer here: