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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

The answer is no, but it certainly is one of the worst, according to Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas A&M University professor and Texas state climatologist.

“Based on Palmer Drought Severity Index values, this is the third-worst drought Texas has ever seen in the month of May,” Nielsen-Gammon writes in his blog, the Climate Abyss. “Records go back to 1895. May also marks the end of the driest eight-month period on record.”

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 50 percent of the state remained in what is termed an “exceptional” drought, which means a once in 50-year occurrence. More than 90 percent of the state was experiencing either a severe or exceptional
drought. Only parts of north central and northeast Texas were not at least abnormally dry as of May 31.

It may not be the worst drought ever, but lifelong farmers throughout the state are telling Texas AgriLife Extension Service agents this is the driest they’ve ever experienced.

More information on the current Texas drought and wildfire alerts can be found on the AgriLife Extension Agricultural Drought Task Force website at http://agrilife.tamu.edu/drought/ .

Rolling Plains: The region was dry, windy and with highs above 100 degrees. Cotton producers were planting on irrigated fields, but even applying enough water to plant has proven to be a challenge. In the areas that received rain, producers were
fighting blowing sand and soil erosion. In some cases they were performing a light tillage operation called “scratching” to loosen up caked soil and allow cotton plants to break the surface. Some cotton farmers had to replant. Only
limited dryland cotton acreage was planted. Stock-tanks water evaporated because of wind and high temperatures. Cattle were suffering. Producers were bringing in hay and further culling their herds.

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