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Climate and Agriculture

Agriculture is indelibly connected to surrounding weather and climate conditions. Midwestern agriculture is dominated by rainfed production systems; Crop production yields are determined by the amount of rain which falls during the growing season and when, in conjunction with the capacity of the soil to hold water and nutrients. Irrigation is currently present in areas of higher value crops or sandy soils. Therefore, soil health and precipitation greatly impacts crop growth, along with diseases and pests (also climate driven).

Understanding current weather and climate issues is imperative to supporting sustainable crop production in the Midwest. The Midwest Climate Hub works to support use of current and projected information for producers, advisers and industry in the region. We work with partners to collect and supply information usable to agricultural producers throughout the region in regards to the wide variety of crops.

For Outlook information and discussions select here

Current Conditions

Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Drought Monitor summary map identifies general drought areas, labelling droughts by intensity, with D1 being the least intense and D4 being the most intense. D0, drought watch areas, are either drying-out and possibly heading for drought, or are recovering from drought but not yet back to normal, suffering long-term impacts such as low reservoir levels.

Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin

The Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin (WWCB) is jointly prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The WWCB provides a vital source of information on weather, climate and agricultural developments worldwide, along with detailed charts and tables of agrometeorological information that are appropriate for the season. The most current Bulletin can be found here. The Bulletin is posted every Tuesday by 4:00 p.m. (ET). Posting will be delayed to the next business day when federal offices are closed. The most current and all archived WWCBs can be found here

Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC)

The Midwestern Regional Climate Center is a cooperative program between the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the Illinois State Water Survey in Champaign, Illinois. The center is a partner in a national climate service program that includes NCEI, five other Regional Climate Centers, and State Climate Offices. The NCEI is part of the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The MRCC serves the nine-state Midwest region (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin). Their services and research help to better explain climate and its impacts on the Midwest, provide practical solutions to specific climate problems, and allow us to develop climate information for the Midwest on climate-sensitive issues such as agriculture, climate change, energy, the environment, human health, risk management, transportation, and water resources.

The Midwest Climate Watch is the entry point to a wealth of current information on the Midwest. The Midwest Climate Watch includes daily, 7-day, 30-day, and month-to-date maps of temperature, precipitation, snowfall, snow depth, and growing degree days, as well as maps for prior months and seasons. Information and resources for the region about drought, agriculture and horticulture, and the Great Lakes can be found under the Special Topics tab.

The “Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook's” are a brief bulletin published jointly by NOAA and several partners (depending on region) summarizing the latest season’s weather and water level conditions and weather and water level-related impacts and provides an outlook for the upcoming quarter. It is published roughly four weeks after the end of each season, and in this region, are housed within the MRCC website. It is published in March, June, September and December covering Winter (Dec-Feb); Spring (Mar-May); Summer (Jun-Aug) and Fall (Sep-Nov). For  all current and past bulletins, select the following regions. 

NOAA NCEI Climatological Rankings



Additional Resources