Extreme drought conditions expand in state

PIERRE (AP) – Extreme drought has worsened over the past week in north-central South Dakota.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows nearly 11 percent of the state in extreme drought, up from a little over 4 percent last week.

Roughly 31 percent of the state is rated in severe drought, up slightly from a week ago. Another nearly 31 percent of South Dakota is experiencing moderate drought conditions, an increase from just below 24 percent last week.

The Agriculture Department estimates the state's winter wheat crop will total 28 million bushels, down 56 percent from last year, and the spring wheat crop at 32 million bushels, down 32 percent.

The department has designated numerous counties in the Dakotas and Montana as natural disasters, paving the way for federal aid.

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