Midwest Drought Loss Totals Near $2 Billion

In addition, excess moisture in the Northern Plains caused additional agricultural losses. Compiled by staff

Published on: Oct 18, 2005

A number of crops have been damaged by drought in drought affected states. Corn and soybeans are the principal crops in the area, however, other crops such as sorghum and forage crops have been lost. In addition, excess moisture in the Northern Plains caused additional agricultural losses.  

For soybeans, as of September 1 crop conditions, the value of lost production in the 5-state area is $266 million when measured from 5-year average yields and $557 million when measured from trend yields, with losses concentrated in Illinois and Missouri, according to a new report from USDA, "A Preliminary Assessment of the Effects of Katrina and Drought on U.S. Agriculture."

For corn, as of September 1 crop conditions, the value of lost production in the 5-state area is $638 million when measured from 5-year average yields and $710 million when measured from trend yields, with losses again concentrated in Illinois and Missouri and no losses in Indiana and Ohio. Combined losses are $804 million when measured from 5-year average yields and $1.267 billion when measured from trend yields. Individual producers in other states likely experienced losses as well.

As of September 4, 2005, in Illinois 56% of the pasture and range and 20% of the sorghum were as rated poor or very poor. In Missouri, 59% of the pasture and range and 35% of the sorghum were as rated poor or very poor.

The effect of the Corn Belt drought is estimated by comparing actual estimated 2005-crop production as of September 1, 2005 as reported in USDA's Crop Production report with normal production. Production effects are presented for soybeans and corn, the principal crops, for the States of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. Parts of other states are affected as well.

After an unfavorably dry winter, wet weather developed in the Northwest. Above-normal precipitation persisted through the spring, resulting in the second wettest March-May period on record in Idaho and Nevada. The wet weather shifted eastward during the summer months, covering much of the northern and central Plains and parts of the upper Midwest. North Dakota experienced its third-wettest summer during the 111-year period of record.

As a result, rare summer flooding occurred on the northern Plains. The final spring wheat condition report on August 14 showed 20% of Minnesota's crop to be in poor-to-very poor condition. Along the North Dakota-Minnesota border, the Red River crested on June 18 in Fargo at 11.19 feet above flood stage and Grand Forks, 12.07 feet above flood stage, the second-highest summer level on record in both locations. Summer high-water marks along the Red River were established in July 1975, when crests climbed 16.26 feet above flood stage in Fargo and 15.08 feet above flood stage in Grand Forks.

Ironically, Washington suffered from a late-season drying trend, which left the state's final spring wheat condition at 22% poor-to-very poor.