The "bullseye for rain" was on northern Wisconsin, StormTRACKER meteorologist Jesse Ritka said, parts of South Dakota saw some beneficial moisture, too, which showed up on the U.S. Drought Monitor update for July 29.
However, places in northwestern Minnesota and most of North Dakota mostly struck out for rainfall.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, July 28, signed an executive order waiving trucking regulations to support Minnesota livestock producers facing significant decrease in the availability of hay and other forage. Minnesota has 14 counties under a primary agricultural disaster designation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under this disaster designation, producers in 21 contiguous counties also qualify for benefits. Additional information on USDA’s disaster assistance program, including county lists and maps, can be found at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov.
“When Minnesota’s farmers are struggling, all of Minnesota is struggling,” Walz said. “We are doing everything we can to address the challenges our farmers, ranchers, and livestock producers are facing. I am grateful to the USDA for their recognition of the deteriorating conditions here in Minnesota.”
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota have introduced the CRP Flexibility Act in Congress, which would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to allow emergency haying before the end of the primary nesting season when certain conditions are met and in consultation with the state technical committee.
Ritka said temperatures in the region are expected to cool down a little, but they'll still be above average and into the upper 80s and lower 90s. While there's a slight chance of pop-up showers, nothing widespread is expected, "which means no improvement in the near future as far as the Drought Monitor is concerned," she said.
The month of August is expected to include above-average temperatures in the region, with western North Dakota and Montana also expected to have below-average precipitation.
Here is a state-by-state look at this week’s drought monitor:
Iowa: Iowa saw a slight shift in land from moderate drought to severe drought and from no drought conditions to abnormally dry. The state 71.15% of land in some drought category.
Minnesota: Conditions continue to deteriorate across most of Minnesota. The state saw an increase in extreme drought ratings from 18.05% to 22.06%. Severe drought and moderate drought conditions did decrease slightly, and the entire state remains in some drought category. At least one-fifth of Minnesota’s major summer crops—21% of the corn and 20% of the soybeans—were rated in very poor to poor condition on July 25. Minnesota also led the Midwest on that date with 66% of its pastures rated very poor to poor.
Montana: Conditions in Montana continue to worsen, with 98.71% of the state now considered in moderate drought or worse compared to 96.18% last week. Exceptional drought increased from 5.35% to 5.68%, and extreme drought increased from 39.62% to 43.01%. On July 25, 91% of Montana rangeland and pastures were rated very poor to poor. The state also had a nation-leading 70% of its barley rated very poor to poor.
Nebraska: Nebraska saw 0.48% of the state enter the extreme drought category this week, but overall conditions have worsened only slightly. The state now has 69.08% of land in some drought category, compared to 68.48% last week.
North Dakota: Drought conditions in North Dakota continue to worsen. More than 10% of the state now is in exceptional drought, an increase of more than 2% since last week. Extreme drought also increased more than 1%. The state has 97.78% of land considered in severe drought or worse, with the remainder considered to be moderate drought. On July 25, North Dakota was the national leader in oats rated very poor to poor (56%), along with soybeans (41%) and corn (39%).
South Dakota: South Dakota's drought conditions remained relatively unchanged since last year, with only small increases in extreme and severe drought and slight decreases in moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions. More than 99% of the state remains in some drought category. On July 25, South Dakota led the nation, among major production states, in sorghum rated very poor to poor (31%).
Wisconsin: Northern Wisconsin was one of the few parts of the region to see widespread rains recently. The state saw about 6% of land drop out of abnormally dry conditions and into no drought category. However, severe drought increased slightly in the state from 2.82% to 2.97%