Drought continues to spread

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According to the latest Drought Monitor, drought and dry conditions generally expanded and worsened across the continental United States last week.

More than half of the lower 48 states were classified as abnormally dry or worse; 35 percent experienced moderate to exceptional drought, an area 17 percent larger than the week before. It has caused increasing stress on crops across the country.

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 46 percent of the winter wheat in the primary production states was in poor or very poor condition as of June 12; at this time last year, that figure was only 16 percent. Other crops with larger proportions in poor or very poor condition compared to this time last year included pastures and rangelands (29 percent now and 11 percent a year ago), oats (26 percent and 8 percent), cotton (22 percent and 9 percent) and sorghum (20 percent and 5 percent).

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