Drought in U.S. Corn Belt Reminiscent of Both Bad and Good Years

According to Reuters, U.S. corn prices have come under pressure this month amid predictions for a record crop, though a widespread dry stretch expected for the next two weeks has added back some weather premium, especially since drought conditions are already of concern.

Based on current drought coverage, five potential comparison years for 2023 arise: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2021 and 2022.

Corn yield outcomes vary highly among this group, so key differences must be highlighted.

As of Tuesday, some 26% of U.S. corn areas were experiencing moderate or worse drought, the second-worst for the week after 29% in 2013. Records date to 2012, when 15% of corn areas were in at least moderate drought by this same week.

Around the same date in 2014, 2021 and 2022, moderate drought coverage spanned between 20% and 24% of U.S. corn areas.

This week’s Drought Monitor shows the most severe Corn Belt dryness in western areas including Kansas and Nebraska, most similar to the same weeks in 2013, 2014 and 2022.

Dryness was less intense but more widespread in 2012, and it was concentrated in the Upper Plains in 2021.

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