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How is it possible to have a drought if at the same time, in 2012, US farmers harvested the Eighth Largest US Corn Crop On Record?

A few different reasons. The map in the link in the first post coincides with much of the area of the Ogallala Aquifer.

Even if it doesn't rain, they can still grow successful crops through irrigation. Much of the area of drought in that map doesn't get a lot of rain anyway. Western Nebraska is much drier than the eastern part.

The major corn producing states are Iowa and Illinois. The areas hit hardest by the drought in that map are not corn growing areas. Most of that land is used for growing wheat of various types, and as mentioned, irrigation is common.

2012 wasn't a terrible year for corn growing in the US, but neither was it wildly successful. Below is a chart of the total bushels harvested.

A big reason why the total production was okay was because a near record number of acres were planted and harvested. The government mandates more corn planted for ethanol production.

If the drought area expands eastward in 2013, then that could spell real trouble for the corn harvest. The amount of rain that falls this spring will be important, as well of course the amount of rain that falls during the growing season.

- Pete
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