Drought worsens in Dakotas, Montana

BISMARCK, N.D. — Parts of North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota now are considered in extreme drought.
Extreme drought is the second worst category of drought after exceptional drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The June 20 U.S. Drought Monitor, released June 22, showed 7.73 percent of North Dakota, 6.37 percent of Montana and 2.07 percent of South Dakota in extreme drought.
North Dakota also has 32.17 percent of its land in severe drought, 27.44 percent in moderate drought and 32.64 percent considered abnormally dry.
In North Dakota, the worst conditions earlier were in the central part of the state, but the June 22 release shows drought spreading and worsening throughout western North Dakota.
Bruce Schmidt, North Dakota State University Burleigh County ag and natural resource agent, says Burleigh County and other hard-hit areas received some rain, more than 2 inches in places, but counties to the west weren’t as lucky.
Montana’s worst conditions remain in the northeast, while South Dakota’s worst conditions remain in the north.
"The cool season grasses never received that April or May showers and because of that, we just missed out on that growing season completely," he explains.
Corn ranges from good to marginal, but the question whether it will make grain or have to be used as silage remains, Schmidt says.
Small grains are very short and are heading out, so some producers are thinking of cutting and baling it for livestock forage for themselves or to sell, Schmidt says.

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