An All Too Familiar Headline: Drought Update

May 11, 2021

Megadrought and megafire potential are leading to some mega concerning news.

How bad is mega bad? In the West, 83% of the region is currently in moderate-to-exceptional drought, with the most severe conditions centered on the ‘Four Corners’ states, California, and Nevada, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Over it already: The West region has been in a state of drought nearly every year since 2000. That 20-year-long stretch tops any drought in the last 1,200 years.

La Niña and her annoying habit of drying out the Southwest have created the perfect storm or lack thereof. The addition of bad luck and human error that was partially responsible for 10,000 California wildfires last year has not helped either.

Last week’s moisture provided a little help to Texas, Northeastern Colorado, and portions of the central Plains.

But drought concerns drive grain prices. Fear that drought will eat into yields has grain prices at highs that farmers haven’t seen in nearly a decade. As thrilling as it sounds, folks aren’t sure how much they’ll have to harvest in the fall if they plant now.

North Dakota is completely covered in some level of drought, with extreme drought covering 85% of the state. Farmers in the Dakotas have had to plant nearly four inches deep to try to find moisture. As of last week, the state only had 25% of the corn crop in the ground.