(NewsDakota.com/NorthDakotaAgConnection.com) – Farmers and ranchers have been nervous about it for the last several weeks and the Drought Monitor confirmed it last week — it has been abnormally dry across the Midwest for some time now. It’s a pattern that needs to reverse itself before we get too deep into the season to fulfill the forecast for trendline yields and high production of this year’s crop. The USDA will put out its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) on Friday, and DTN will have coverage of that event later this week. Join us Friday at 11 a.m. CDT for coverage of the June WASDE report. At 12:30 p.m., DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman will review details of the report in his monthly webinar. You can sign up for that webinar here: and also keep an eye out later this week for DTN’s reports preview and post-report coverage and analysis.

USDA is unlikely to change its position on the crop this early in the season.

But that won’t stop producers and traders from taking the growing dryness situation seriously. During the last two months, precipitation has largely been below normal across the entirety of the Corn Belt. A stagnant weather pattern is mostly to blame in that regard. That has featured a ridge of high pressure across central Canada, blocking the upper-level pattern from allowing many or any disturbances to move across the U.S. Instead, weaknesses across the Southwest and Southeast U.S. have led to enough energy to produce scattered showers and heavy rainfall for parts of the West, Plains, and Southeast.

In April, the pattern was not much of a concern because it allowed planting to progress nicely, culminating in a faster than normal planting pace for most of the country outside of North Dakota, which finally caught up in late May. Most of the country’s corn, soybean, and spring wheat acres are planted, with only small pockets left to go. However, with the onset of summer and increasing temperatures, and readings eclipsing the 90-degree Fahrenheit mark since last week, drought stress is becoming more of a serious concern.

Soil moisture has been declining during the last two months for most areas, especially in the Eastern Corn Belt, and flash drought is occurring. Flash drought is described as a rapid onset of drought, and typically the effects are felt before it is classified as drought. As many are reporting on Twitter in states such as Illinois and Indiana, corn leaves are curling in the afternoon and crop ratings from the USDA are falling. Illinois’ good-to-excellent rating for corn fell 19 points, Indiana and Wisconsin each fell 10 points, while Michigan fell 20 points and Ohio fell 17 points. The only states to see increases in the crop condition on corn were in the Plains where rains have been prevalent. North Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado saw modest increases. Soybean conditions were only first released this week so we cannot compare to last week.