(KNSI) – The latest US Drought Monitor shows worsening drought conditions in Minnesota.
The most recent report, updated Thursday, shows that 72% of Minnesota is now in severe drought, of which 18% is experiencing extreme drought. A portion of that 18% is found in Stearns and Morrison counties.
A detail from the July 16 soil water conservation district contact condition monitoring observation report in Stearns County shows that “Farmers are under severe water stress in soil areas. coarse-textured and without irrigation. These areas are unlikely to recover even if it rains. Areas with finer textured soils also exhibit water stress, but may recover with rainfall. Irrigated areas continue for now, but we will soon be approaching the big time of ET consumption, and they may struggle to provide enough water. “I would say on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a 1988 drought, we are currently at about 7-8.”
Another contact reported that some of the coarser areas are “probably beyond recovery.” Some of these are clearly beyond salvage and won’t have any grain yield to speak of. As for the corn, they report that it “does not look terrible but it is stressed”.
The June 1 Drought Monitor report showed less than one percent of the state was in severe drought. Last week’s report showed the state was beginning to experience extreme drought, with just under four percent reporting extreme drought conditions.
Watering bans are in place in several cities, with others asking residents to cut back on watering lawns and only run fully loaded washing machines and dishwashers.
The rain that fell on Thursday will help some, but National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dye says St. Cloud is about two inches from its average precipitation for July and about three inches behind for the year. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says it will take at least three to five inches of precipitation spread over about two weeks to significantly alleviate the drought, as the cycle is more effectively replenished by multiple precipitations rather than a single heavy rain.
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