Drought conditions are especially severe in the Southwest region but some key farm areas also are experiencing extensive drought. Most of the Dakotas are in some level of drought and Texas also has widespread dry conditions.
The table highlights the change over time. Although conditions just slightly improved from December, drought conditions are much worse than a year ago. Nearly a third of the continental U.S. is experiencing severe, extreme, or exceptional drought compared with only 3% last April (D2-D4).
Spring rains can change the picture but for now some crops could be vulnerable. The swath of land from west Texas strait north to the Canadian border produces many crops. Texas produces 42% of U.S. cotton. A third of the winter wheat production comes from Kansas (27%) and Colorado (7%). Fully 67% of spring wheat is produced in N. Dakota (52%) and Montana (15%). The Dakotas also produce one third of the nations oats.
Further west, the Sierra Nevada snow water content is at 59% of average while the state of California as a whole received 50% of average precipitation for the water year. Keep an eye on these developments as the spring planting season progresses and we enter the summer.