July 25, 2014

Drought is hitting Nebraska agriculture hard

Crops in Nebraska have wilted under the blazing heat and lack of rain.

Officials with the National Ag Statistics Service in Nebraska report some farmers have decided to cut corn for silage, since the crop missed crucial rainfalls. The weather has taken its toll on dryland crops, but irrigators in Nebraska report using as much water to date as they normally do in a year.

A little better than a third of the corn crop in Nebraska is rated good to excellent, compared with nearly 80% on average. If it weren’t for the state’s irrigated weather, the outlook would be much worse. The service rates irrigated corn 57% good to excellent with dryland corn only 9%.

The soybean crop is rated at 28% good to excellent. Normally it hovers around 78%.

Pastures have suffered greatly in the heat. Only 7% of the pasture and rangeland is considered good to excellent.

The drought has depleted topsoil moisture. The service reports 95% of the topsoil in Nebraska is either short or very short of moisture; 93% of the subsoil.