Far From Over: A look at drought conditions in the Pacific Northwest

Taking a look at ongoing weather trials now, producers in the Pacific Northwest are still in a drought.

Here is a look at the latest drought monitor for the region. While the snowpack is being boosted dramatically, recent precipitation is not doing much for the historic drought.

A Montana climatologist says the Pacific Northwest needs more snow than normal to make up for the ongoing drought, especially in Oregon. This past January was the state’s 20th driest on record, dating back to 128 years.

“Conditions are very, very extreme, especially when you’re looking at those really, really long-time scales. So, the short-term precipitation is likely to help but is not likely to eliminate drought. The current drought in the Pacific Northwest is widespread, long-standing, persistent and far from over,” says Zach Hoylman.

The National Weather Service is predicting some relief though for farmers in the Northwest, with cooler and wetter conditions to come.

One would think the ongoing winter weather out West would help reduce pest pressure for crops, but a specialist with the University of Minnesota Extension says that is not the case this time.

The pest management specialist says snow cover and milder temperatures this season have actually helped insects over winter. Species like Corn Root Worm, Soybean Gall Midge and Soybean Aphids are doing just fine right now he says! However, the specialist says the bitter cold should be beneficial for southern producers and cut down on pests and diseases.


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