Wheat as the Exception: Drought’s continued impact on production areas into winter

Drought conditions this winter are a growing concern for the agricultural industry. However, the year’s winter wheat crop is an exception, according to USDA experts.

Crops in drought are usually not a major concern for the agriculture industry as a whole this time of year. However, this year, winter wheat is an exception.

Approximately 38 percent of domestic winter wheat production is located in an area experiencing drought. This map from the USDA shows the major and minor crop-producing areas, shown in light and dark green, with dry conditions shown in striped red. Most of the impacted crops are in the Great Plains and the Midwestern regions.

U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Meteorologist Brad Rippey provides some hope, though, saying:

“Now, the good news is, even with still more than one-third drought coverage on that winter crop — that is the lowest number we have seen at any time in the last year, and we did see a higher number during planting,” Rippey said. “We saw a peak in the autumn of 49% winter wheat and drought. So, the numbers have crept downward. That is good news, and that explains why we’re seeing our best overall U.S. winter wheat conditions since the 2019 planting season.”

Nearly 50 percent less winter wheat acreage is in a drought than last year.

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