U. S. Corn & Soybean Crops Reeling from Drought

Published on July 27, 2012 by Jude Kastens

Tags: Agriculture, Corn, Crop yield, Disaster, Drought, Emergency, Forcasting, Greenness, GreenReport, Growing Season, NDVI, Research, Satellite imagery, Soybeans, Weather, Wheat

Crop Condition Rankings as of July 22, 2012

Crop Condition Rankings as of July 22, 2012

July 27, 2012 – According to the July 24 update of the UNL Drought Monitor, more than 80% of the conterminous U.S. was experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse, and more than 20% was classified in the two highest drought categories (“Extreme” & “Exceptional”). Nearly all of the Midwestern Corn Belt is included in the Drought area, with the vast majority of the region classified as “Severe” or worse.

Now that we are firmly into the back side of the 2012 growing season, the “Great Drought of 2012” has clearly taken its toll on the U.S. corn & soybean crops. USDA crop condition ratings are the lowest they’ve ever been for both crops since record keeping began in 1986. Industry yield projections for corn are currently coming in 20-30% below pre-season trend line expectations. Industry yield projections for soybeans are currently coming in 10-20% below pre-season trend line expectations. These numbers could easily fall further in coming weeks, under the expectation that the hot & dry conditions are going to persist at least through the beginning of August.

At the time of this writing, the USDA had designated 1369 counties across 31 states as drought disaster areas. In our home state of Kansas, an executive order issued by the Governor on July 25 placed all 105 Kansas counties under Emergency Drought Stage (100 of these counties are included in the USDA’s drought disaster area). CRP lands in 104 Kansas counties have been released by the USDA for haying and grazing, and water from several reservoirs in Kansas has been made available for the obtainment of emergency supply for domestic and livestock use. Other states have taken similar measures in an effort to mitigate the ongoing drought emergency.


In collaboration with commercial partners TerraMetrics Agriculture, Inc. (TMAI) of Lawrence and Planalytics of Berwyn, PA, the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program has been monitoring the impacts of the 2012 drought on cropland and other vegetation across the U.S. through the GreenReport® and Crop Yield Forecasting. For more information regarding Planalytics agribusiness solutions, see the Planalytics website. For general information regarding the KARS-TMAI crop yield forecasting, see the KARS GreenReport® website and past news item ‘Satellites Are Watching Your Corn’, or contact Jude Kastens