Drought is spreading across the Southwest as crop year winds down

Drought is spreading across the Southwest as crop year winds down.

Drought creeps back into the Southwest

Texas and Oklahoma showing increased drought.

Slowly, but consistently, drought has crept back into the Southwest over the past few weeks.

In late July, Oklahoma and Texas drought monitor maps showed completely white, no drought anywhere in either state.

But rainfall since June has been sparse across the region. Reports last week at the Oklahoma Irrigation conference in Fort Cobb indicated much of the state is in need of rain. And the latest Texas Water Development Board report indicates that 25 percent of the state is now considered in moderate to severe drought status.—8 percent is considered severe. Last week’s report showed 18 percent of the state in drought status.

 

More areas, mostly East and Central Texas, also are reporting abnormally dry conditions. East Texas is hardest hit with significant acreage in the moderate to severe drought range.

The 25 percent drought status is up from 15 percent just three months ago but better than the 59 percent this time last year.

Eric Akins, a Grayson County, Texas, farmer said last week that corn production would be down for Northeast Texas, taking a one-two punch from early persistent rainfall that delayed or prevented planting and then drought conditions beginning in June.

“It was too wet to plant until it was too dry to plow,” he said.

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Long-term, conditions look more hopeful with predictions that drought conditions likely will improve or disappear by the end of November.

A looming threat of a record El Niño this fall and winter concerns some producers who need open weather to finish summer crop harvest.

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