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Livestock Wx for the week of June 4, 2018:  Drought setting in for the summer

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June 4, 2018

Over the last 30 days several of the areas in drought around Texas and Oklahoma have received anywhere from one to several inches of rainfall. The below image shows the 30-day rainfall in more detail.

That’s good news, but unfortunately, it’s not good enough. We hate to keep pushing drought here, but we don’t see signs that things are going to improve.  In fact, we think they’re going to get worse as we get into the hot summer months.

One of the things that we’ve been looking at is the evaporative demand over the last six months. Evaporative demand is how much moisture the atmosphere is drawing from the plants and soil. Some have called it the “thirst of the atmosphere.” For much of the Southern Plains, October through March is generally when you get your soil moisture recharge. Cooler conditions and little to no warm-season forage production make low demands on the available soil moisture allowing it to accumulate for the start of the growing season in the spring.

Looking at the evaporative demand from October to March (image below) we see high values for many of the areas that have been in drought. For comparison, the image next to the evaporative demand map shows precipitation deficits from October to the first of June. As we get in the heart of forage production season these areas could see rapid depletion of the available soil moisture and as a result see impacts like poor forage production relatively quickly.

The medium-range outlooks do not show a strong chance of rainfall over the next 14 days for these areas while temperatures are expected to be above-normal. For those that get the Livestock Weather Journal, we will be covering in more detail the linkage between evaporative demand in the fall and winter and how it can prime drought in the spring and summer.

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Jun 04, 2018 General Discussion, General Discussion, livestockwx