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Drought conditions continue affecting growing season

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:49 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. – At least a dozen counties are now classified as being in exceptional drought conditions as above-average temperatures continue across the state.

For some commercial farmers in rural areas, rain from storms is the only water their crops are getting.

”Everything that has germinated is kind of just, almost like it’s just been waiting there, delayed and just isn’t growing due to lack of moisture and the extremes we’ve been experiencing,” said Minot area farmer Nathan Smith.

With 15 counties across the state classified as being in severe drought conditions, those few rain events become even more crucial.

“It was pretty much dry all the way to the beginning of the growing season, and farmers started putting seeds into blowing dust,” said State Climatologist Adnan Akyüz.

Dry conditions tracing back to the 2020 drought and historically high temperatures in the area have led to a drop in soil moisture levels that could lead to long-term consequences for farmers without long-term rain.

“We’ll have to continue getting rain or we’re just kicking the can down the road to another severely reduced crop in this area,” said Smith.

But according to state climatologist Akyüz, after months of above-normal temperatures, the recent rain did more harm than good.

“It did not have time to be absorbed by the soil to the deep layer. It just overflew and it just eroded the top layer of the soil, which is the most fertile,” said Akyüz.

Farmers said that for now, they’re just biding their time until more rain comes.

Akyüz said state forecasts indicate that scattered precipitation is expected within the next few days, but that it will need to happen gradually in order to thoroughly wet the ground.

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