How has drought coverage shifted in production areas of major crops, hay, and cattle?

We are checking on production areas for major U.S. crops and how the drought coverage has shifted.

USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey tells us how conditions changed through August.

“Corn, the decrease was from 31 to 29 percent of the U.S. production area. For soybeans, the decrease was a little larger from 28 to 21 percent of the production area. So for example, the peanut crop, just 11 percent of that production area is in drought, down from 13 percent five weeks ago on August 2nd,” said Rippey.

The same is not for winter wheat, though. More than half of the country’s growing area is covered in drought as planting begins. He also gives us the latest update on dry conditions and hay and cattle country.

“Looking at our livestock numbers, and we really like to focus in on hay and cattle numbers. So, for example, hay production areas in drought as of September 6th, that number is 39 percent, which is an improvement from last month’s 47 percent. Again, that really reflects the improving conditions in the southern and southwest United States. Meanwhile, the U.S. cattle inventory in drought - the September 6th number is 54 percent. That too represents an improvement from five weeks ago in early August when 60 percent of the U.S. cattle inventory was considered to be in drought,” Rippey added.

He says the improvement is good, but the numbers still show we have substantial hay and livestock inventory in really dry areas.


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