You’re focused on planting right now, but we’re keeping an eye on signs that parts of the Midwest may be headed for a drought this year.
w A fairly strong La Niña is setting up. The resulting cooler-than-normal sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean impact global weather patterns, including drier-than-normal conditions in our part of the world.
Heavy rains can create more challenges
The numbers tell a story that a drought is already here in some areas. NOAA’s statewide precipitation rate map, which shows how dry or wet each state is, uses a scale is from 1 (record driest) to 126 (record wettest). North Dakota was ranked the driest state (1), as of February 2021, with Minnesota at 12 and Iowa at 71 (figure 2). Some parts of North Dakota are more than 30 inches short on moisture. To mitigate this deficit, North Dakota needs 200% of their normal spring rain this year, and all this moisture needs to soak into the soil.
That last point is critical. Let’s hope for light, steady rains that will soak in the soil. Dry soil does not absorb heavy rain. The raindrops “bounce” off instead. This can lead to flooding, which can create more problems than dry fields.
You can take steps to drought-proof your soil and protect your crops. Learn more in the blog “Weatherproofing Your Crops in 2021” on our website (profitproag.com under the ‘In the News’ tab). We welcome your questions and look forward to working with you this year.