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U.S. drought coverage approaching record levels

IARN — The U.S. Department of Agriculture says drought coverage across the U.S. continues to approach record levels.

The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday showed expansion of D1 Moderate Drought from northern Iowa down into central Iowa. Northwest Iowa continues to be the driest part of the state. However, USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says this week’s drought expansion wasn’t just seen in Iowa.

“There have only been four times in the history of the drought monitor that we have seen more than 40% U.S. drought coverage as we come into early May,” said Rippey. “The current U.S. drought coverage is 46.6% of the lower 48 states in drought. That is a 2.6% increase from what we saw five weeks ago.”

Rippey discusses particular commodities in drought as the growing season continues.

“We do see at this time 26% of the U.S. corn production area in drought,” said Rippey. “Much of that though in some of the western production areas. Twenty-two percent of the soybean production area is in drought. Looking at a few other crops, we also see winter wheat 35% in drought, sorghum 33% and cotton 31% in drought.”

And Rippey notes a few other commodities that are impacted by the widespread drought.

“Cattle production areas in drought in the U.S. is 36% in drought as of May 4th,” said Rippey. “Not much change from the previous month on any of these commodities. That primarily is from the Pacific Coast to the High Plains. And then hay production areas in drought is 33% of the country.”

To view the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, click here.

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