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Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/20/12

Approximately 88% of the corn grown in the U.S. is within an area experiencing drought, based on historical NASS crop production data.

Approximately 88% of the corn grown in the U.S. is within an area experiencing drought, based on historical NASS crop production data. (Click to enlarge map)

Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

The drought of 2012 has rapidly expanded and intensified, covering 64% of the contiguous United States – according to the U.S. Drought Monitor – by July 17.  Three months ago, that figure stood at 37%, and at the beginning of the year, only 28% of the lower 48 states had drought coverage. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/16/12

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Satellite image with enhanced low cloud-top temperatures for 6:45 a.m. EST (NOAA)

Weekend thundershowers provided limited and localized relief to a few Midwestern fields, but most of the Corn Belt remains in dire need of moisture.  Currently, very hot weather is building back into the Midwest. High temperatures above 100°F can be expected in portions of the western Corn Belt for the remainder of the week. The eastern Corn Belt should experience some mid- to late-week heat relief, but only scattered showers will accompany the transition to cooler weather. Like last week, substantial drought relief will be confined to the Southeast. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 7/12/12

U.S. Corn Areas Experiencing Drought. Reflects July 10, 2012 U.S.

U.S. Corn Areas Experiencing Drought. Reflects July 10, 2012 U.S. (click to enlarge)

On July 11, USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board cut the estimate for the 2012 U.S. corn crop by 1.82 billion bushels to “reflect expected impacts of persistent and extreme June and early-July dryness and heat across the central and eastern Corn Belt.”  The 12% cut, which left the projected U.S. corn production at 12.97 billion bushels, is a direct result of the nation’s worst drought in a generation—since 1988. Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also announced that more than 1,000 counties across in 26 states would be designated as disaster areas due to the worsening drought. Read more »

Putting together June Acreage Report is no Small Feat

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

Earlier this month, representatives of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) spent two weeks contacting farmers and ranchers around the nation to find out how much U.S. farmland is planted to specific crops and to determine the number of livestock on U.S. farms and ranches in 2011.  In all, more than 35,000 interviews were conducted, with Texas accounting for about 5,000 of them. Read more »