ST. LOUIS -

The weekly update on drought conditions in the United States showed about 80 percent of Wisconsin is still considered to be in at least moderate drought.

That estimate is down about 3 percent from last week’s conditions, which also increases the area of the state considered drought-free from .57 percent last week to 4.5 percent this week. Three months ago, 40 percent of the state was not considered to be in drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor figures released Thursday showed the worst U.S. drought in decades is showing little signs of easing as farmers close out corn harvests and pivot toward growing winter wheat that's now struggling in the dry conditions.

Nationally, more than 62 percent of the land in the lower 48 states is experiencing some degree of drought.

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.

The Drought Monitor has five classifications of drought intensity identified between abnormally dry to exceptionally dry. Moderate is the second level of intensity.