Massive drought across the Upper Midwest, Northern Plains states, and Prairie provinces of Canada is putting the spring wheat crop at risk, Modern Farmer reports. That region — which, unlike California, relies on precipitation for soil moisture — is crucial for higher-gluten wheat varieties used for pasta and as part of all-purpose flour. Corn, soybean, and canola crops are also under threat. North Dakota and Manitoba have both seen their driest springs in over a century, and the hottest April temperatures in decades are further pulling moisture from the soil, creating dry and dusty conditions. Climate change makes droughts more likely to occur and more severe when they do, which also fuels more and more intense wildfires.
About 70% of North Dakota is in “extreme drought” with most of the rest of the state in the only slightly less bad “severe drought” and the state’s governor enacted a statewide fire emergency earlier this month. (Spring Wheat: Modern Farmer, Other crops: Successful Farming, Reuters; Climate Signals background: Drought)