Most farmers and agriculturalists aren’t the type to dismiss a drought quickly.

Over the years, they have learned, it doesn’t take much to get back into one.

Yet, it has been a while – six years, in fact – since the Kansas drought monitor map was completely white, designating the state is void of any type of drought.

The last time the drought map – operated by the U.S. Drought Monitor – was completely white, was July 13, 2010.

A week later, the beginnings of what has been one of the worst droughts in Kansas would begin. By the end of the year, more than 80 percent of the state was in some sort of drought.

Conditions fluctuated over the next six years. Some weeks the drought area would be a small percent. Other weeks, it would be severe and cover the entire state.

As late as April 12, 97 percent of Kansas was in some type of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Rain finally began to fall in April and May, which has helped.

  • Salina in April received 4.37 inches, after receiving 70 hundredths in March.
  • Garden City received nearly 3 inches more than the normal April rainfall – 4.59. In March, the Garden City Experiment Station recorded just .06 of an inch.
  • Hays’ April rainfall hit 7.46 inches – more than five inches above normal.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2012 drought cost farmers more than $3 billion in crop losses, and the drought in 2011 totaled $1.8 million.

The Kansas Agricultural Statistics service on Monday listed the state’s wheat at 57 percent good to excellent, 34 percent fair and 9 percent poor.

Kansas Agland Editor Amy Bickel's agriculture roots started in Gypsum. She has been covering Kansas agriculture for more than 15 years. Email her with news, photos and other information at or by calling (800) 766-3311 Ext. 320.

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