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Weather & Science

Some US Farms Are So Dry the Dirt Is Repelling Fertilizer

  • Grains for 2023 harvest are at risk as dry conditions expand
  • Winter wheat is sprouting up at a slower-than-average pace
A wheat field in Culver, Kansas.

A wheat field in Culver, Kansas.

Photographer: Arin Yoon/Bloomberg
Updated on

Drought is rapidly expanding across America’s crop belt, making it so dry that in some grain fields fertilizer is evaporating from the soil and plants are struggling to grow.

Almost three-quarters of US farmland for winter wheat is in moderate to intense drought, the highest since at least 2000, according to government data. Other crop regions are in similarly bad shape, with the country’s corn belt at 70%.