drought

The Texas Tribune

Texas is the nation’s biggest beef-producing state, and as the state enters the fourth year of drought, ranchers, consumers, and grocers are feeling the effects reported The Texas Tribune.

droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Drought conditions expanded in the central and southern Plains where winter wheat is struggling to grow according to the U.S. Drought Monitor report released this week.

Amy Bickel / kansasagland.com

Even if you had no idea western Kansas was in the midst of a long-term drought, the scars are hard to miss.  Corrals and roads are drifted with tumbleweeds.  Irrigation ditches are bone dry.  Fence rows are filled with drifted sand, and grass in the pastures has disappeared according to a recent article from Kansas Agland.  

Winter Watering

Mar 5, 2014
masterofhort.com

A trip to the county extension office for a botanical diagnosis of a sickly tree branch paid off with reassurance that all was well.  While I was there I was also served up a refresher course in wise watering practices for our consistently dry and thirsty area.  We reviewed some things I knew about, but am sometimes lax in following.  And I learned a thing or two about making every precious drop of moisture count, even when rainfall is skimpy.   

koaa.com

There might not be enough rain for pastures, but in the Panhandle of Texas tumbleweeds are thriving.  The Amarillo Globe-News reported some serious issues in Dallam and Hartley counties.

PRISM Climate Group/Oregon State University

Midwest farmers that depend on recently drought-stressed rivers like the Platte, Republican, Niobrara, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi received some good news this week, along with Rocky Mountain skiers.

oklahomafarmreport.com

Oklahoma ranks number five in the nation when it comes to the number of cattle, but years of drought and high market prices are fueling a sell-off, and experts worry that the $4.5 billion dollar industry is in a downward spiral that will be difficult to recover from according to an article from StateImpact Oklahoma.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Drought conditions have been downgraded for portions of eastern Colorado.  

Texas A&M AgriLife Research / Dr. Qingwu Xue

Drought tolerance in wheat has been increased through breeding over the years, but a group of Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists in Amarillo wanted to determine what plant physiological characteristics were making the biggest difference.

2012 Drought Pinches Popcorn Sellers

Dec 16, 2013
Quentin Hope

U.S. popcorn sellers took a big hit from the 2012 drought, which caused one of the worst popcorn harvests in recent memory. Crops not irrigated were decimated and low supplies continue to force local candy shops and giant movie theater chains alike to pay high prices for the golden grain, biting into their profit margin.

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Dry conditions continue across the High Plains listening region.  Rain in southern Kansas slightly improved the abnormally dry conditions.  Heavy rains on October 26 improved conditions in the Oklahoma panhandle according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.  

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

15 More Years of Texas Drought? Say it isn’t so

Oct 9, 2013
texscience.org

Experts predict above-average temperatures and lower-than-normal moisture amounts will be seen in the months ahead — and possibly as much as 15 more years according to a recent article in the Amarillo Globe-News.

High Plains Drought Update

Oct 2, 2013
hprcc.unl.edu

Recent rains and cooler temperatures have made a difference across the high plains.

www.nebraska.tv

Farmers across the country received a record breaking 17.3 billion dollars in federal crop insurance payouts after last year’s drought.  While the payments were critical for the financial well-being of farmers, the National Resources Defense Council has issued a report critical of the structure of the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP).

usatoday.com

  Rain and snow have eased most of Colorado's extreme drought conditions, but not southeastern Colorado reported Colorado Public Radio.  And years of drought have taken their toil on the cattle industry.

Cattle Rustling: Oklahoma and Texas up 40%

Aug 20, 2013
Steve Ritter

Cattle rustling is up almost 40% this year in Oklahoma and Texas.  State Impact Texas reported there are a number of reasons:

National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

The High Plains are continuing to benefit from a stalled weather front along lower sections of the central Plains, which is serving as a focus for continued precipitation.  As a result, the monthly drought outlook map from the Climate Prediction Center (see first slide above) shows improvement across the HPPR coverage area though August.

Earl Notingham, Texas Parks and Wildlife / flickr

Drought conditions are long familiar to the Texas Panhandle and are now becoming well known to other parts of the state.  The most recent drought report from the Texas Water Development Board shows that 97 percent of the state is now experiencing some level of drought.

High Plains Drought Outlook

Jul 24, 2013
cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

Recent rains across the High Plains gave hope that the drought’s grip may be lessening.  However, that was quickly extinguished by the extended forecast released by National Weather Service

At a glance, the forecast map shows drought conditions will persist or intensify across the listening region.  The only exception is the extreme western portion of the Texas Panhandle.  The seasonal drought outlook is valid through October 18.

As of early-2013, much of the High Plains region is under extreme or exceptional drought. Ungerer, Crouch and Hagen discuss the significance of enrolling grassland in the NRCS Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative.

Dust Storm Deja Vu?

Jun 10, 2013
Jane Stulp
Jane Stulp, Special to The Denver Post

Picture this:  A software engineer pulls off Highway 83  because the dirt is so thick he can't see.  Dirt drifts that require a farmer to get the scoop out for the tractor so he can clean up.  A layer of fine dust covers everything in the house, and people huddle in their bed and cover their heads so they can breathe.  Scenes from a Ken Burn's documentary?  No, it's happened seven times over the past few months right here on the high plains. 

In the past few months, red flag warnings for areas of the high plains seem to be in effect more often than not. This summer could hold more of the same.

The High Plains Regional Climate Center, based in Lincoln, Nebraska, released its updated report ending May 30. Read the status reports directly from the source, as well as links to the seasonal drought outlook, the drought impact report, and individual state statistics.

Melissa Widhalm, NDMC

There’s a border war going in the Midwest and it’s over water. Kansas and Nebraska have been battling for years over the water in the Republican River, which runs from Colorado to Kansas, through Nebraska.

Farmers in all three states depend on the Republican River to irrigate their fields and with agriculture such a prominent industry in the Midwest, the water battle amounts to a big deal. Kansas and Nebraska’s current dispute will eventually head to the U.S. Supreme Court. And with many farmers dealing with drought and planning for water restrictions, the battle is heating up.

Rain Barrels

Aug 16, 2012

One of the hottest items in lots of gardening catalogues is the rain barrel, proving that 'everything old is new again'.  Throughout history we have found ways to save up rainy day water and then used it during dry times.  Today's offerings can make a fashion statement in your lawn or garden, but there are also some old-fashioned ways of conserving moisture that can provide a drink for thirsty plants.

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