Drought to likely linger into the next several growing seasons

An ag meteorologist says the severity of the drought is in the rearview mirror, but some areas of the Corn Belt could still experience significant dryness.

Matt Makens says much-needed moisture could arrive this winter in areas of the Great Plains and Eastern Corn Belt.  “The outlook does get better.  We just have to pump the breaks a little bit and be patient, wait for El Nino’s biggest impact to move in, which is during the cold season.”

But, he tells Brownfield, complete drought recovery could take several growing seasons. “Over the next, whether it would be five or 10 years down the road, we’ll hit a period where drought is less frequent, and surpluses become more frequent.” 

Central Nebraska farmer Clay Govier says drought has improved some but is concerned that extended dryness could be the new normal. “It’s not as bad as last year, but we could use a rain. I don’t want a tone of rain right now because it’s harvest time, but a little bit to finish up some crops since we’re still chasing pivots.  I don’t know if we’re ever going to break the drought.”

Makens says it’s not uncommon for the region to experience smaller La Nina weather patterns, which indicate drought, during times where more moisture is prevalent. He says this pattern is very similar to others in the last 70 years and doesn’t think it represents something new.

Matt Makens: