Record Spring Plantings But Record Drought Persists Here In The U.S.
It is worthwhile to consider what the moisture situation is in the states which grow crops in terms of trying to get a handle on what kind of fertilizer sales we might expect this year. Right now, more than half of the lower 48 states had abnormally dry conditions and are suffering from at least moderate drought. However, more than 80% of 7 states as of last week were in severe drought characterized by crop or pasture loss, water shortage and water restrictions. And even those states suffering from severe drought conditions, relatively large areas in the worst off states are in what is called "exceptional" drought, which the USDA identifies as exceptional and widespread crop/pasture losses, shortages of water in reservoirs, streams and wells creating water emergencies. It is being contended by some agronomists that current conditions are not only worse than in the 80's but that one would have to go back to the 1950s to find a drought that lasted this long and occupied at least as much territory. Here are a few of the key states in severe drought.
Oklahoma--precipitation has not been enough to help the winter wheat crop, necessitating that planting had to commence in dry soil.
South Dakota--2/3 of winter wheat crop is in either poor or very poor condition.
Kansas--Precipitation deficits is currently running as much as 20 inches in many parts of the state. Although Kansas produces about 20% of the nation's wheat, more than any other state, current conditions will prevent the state from reaching last year's production levels.
Nebraska--All areas of the state are in severe drought. 50% of winter wheat crop now rated as in poor or very poor condition compared to the end of February of last year when only 6% of the crop was rated in this condition.