Drought moves further east, severe weather impacting Nebraska farmers

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 9:09 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - As drought conditions ravage much of the western U.S., areas of Nebraska have started to see impacts.

Over the past few weeks, Nebraska has had high and dry temperatures, which came as farmers prepared yields and braced for the summer months.

According to the latest drought monitor, northeastern parts of the state were experiencing moderate to extreme drought conditions, with the majority of the state abnormally dry.

A Lincoln climatologist told 10/11 NOW that the trend will continue as the drought heavily impacts states like South Dakota and Minnesota, but Lancaster County and southern parts of Nebraska should continue seeing substantial crop yields.

“We are in fine shape in Lancaster County,” said Nebraska Climatologist, Al Dutcher. “Most of the dryness issues that we have are at the surface because this is the region that got all of that bumper precipitation early in the year, and we have moisture built down for five feet almost at full capacity. That’s a huge reserve of moisture and that’s what the crops are living on right now.”

While Lancaster County has continued strong yields, experts said at this point in time the rest of that state isn’t seeing a drought significant enough to impact consumers, and there is no shortage expected in the near future.

One of the best ways farmers have prepared for extreme temperatures was by supplying more water for irrigation.

When looking specifically in Nebraska, periods of dryness would have the largest impact from York into the western parts of Nebraska.

When severe weather such as hail hits the state, it can be more devastating than droughts.

“You can go from a very promising crop to completely wiped out, and that’s not uncommon in the state unfortunately,” Dutcher said. “We see it every year and it’s devastating to look at, nobody wants to go through that. You put your heart and soul into that crop, and to see a really good crop completely obliterated causes problems.”

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