U.S. Drought Monitor Reports Alarming Expansion in Extreme Drought Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Signals Escalating Crisis in Iowa: Widespread Extreme Drought Engulfs Southern Regions
According to source, extreme drought conditions expanded in southern Iowa over the past week, covering a wide area with little rainfall across the state, as reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Approximately 83% of the state is experiencing varying degrees of drought, with southeast Iowa and areas in south-central Iowa, including Clarke, Marion, and Warren counties, facing extreme drought—the second-to-worst classification.
The assessment, issued on Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor, follows a week with minimal precipitation, with a small part of far eastern Iowa receiving about a tenth of an inch, while the majority of the state had none. As of Sunday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that around 42% of the state’s topsoil and 31% of its subsoil had adequate or surplus moisture for crop growth, representing a decline from the previous year.
Despite the current drought conditions being slightly better than those in September, when approximately 97% of the state faced some level of drought, the total area experiencing extreme drought is now larger than at any point in the year.
U.S. Drought Monitor Affects Harvest and Cattle Farming in Iowa
The dry conditions, accelerated by the U.S. Drought Monitor, have expedited the harvest for farmers, putting them about 10 days ahead of the five-year average. However, those involved in cattle farming are grappling with the persistent lack of rainfall. A new report from the federal Climate Prediction Center, as cited by the U.S. Drought Monitor, suggests that the current drought conditions are expected to persist in most of Iowa throughout the winter.
While the drier conditions, monitored by the U.S. Drought Monitor, have been beneficial for harvest operations, cattle farmers remain concerned about water supplies, with the USDA noting that cattle continued to graze on stalk fields, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by livestock producers due to the prolonged drought in the region.