According to the latest USDA Crop Progress Report, Nebraksa finished their grain harvest well ahead of the five-year average. The reason? Ongoing extreme drought impacted many parts of the state, significantly reducing yields. Lower yields meant less harvest labor, particularly after dry September conditions and low humidity levels made soybean harvest a much drier one.

What will it take for the state’s crop to fare better next year? According to Nebraska’s Agricultural Extension Climatologist Al Dutcher, normal precipitation would be a good starting point. However, long-term moisture will be more critical as stream flows, stock ponds and water tables have been severely reduced or depleted. This is similar to the state’s conditions from 2012, where it took until October 2013 to offset the damage. Dutcher is optimistic about 2023 weather patterns.

Read more on drought and its impact on Nebraska here.