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updated: 10/26/2012 7:25 AM

Drought holds its grip as growers pivot to wheat

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  • Farmers had planted 81 percent of the winter wheat crop as of Monday. Only half of the crop has emerged, which is 7 percentage points lower than average.

      Farmers had planted 81 percent of the winter wheat crop as of Monday. Only half of the crop has emerged, which is 7 percentage points lower than average.
    File photo

 
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- The worst U.S. drought in decades is showing little signs of easing as farmers close out their corn harvests and pivot toward growing winter wheat that's now struggling in the dry conditions.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor update released Thursday shows that more than roughly 62 percent of the land in the lower 48 states is experiencing some degree of drought.

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The federal government says farmers have harvested 87 percent of the nation's corn crop and 80 percent of its soybeans.

Farmers had planted 81 percent of the winter wheat crop as of Monday. Only half of the crop has emerged, which is 7 percentage points lower than average.

In South Dakota, only 13 percent of the wheat crop has germinated, compared with the five-year average of 80 percent.

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