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USDA: Showers in Upper Midwest Delay Planting But Improve Dry Soils

May 2, 2012
By: Meghan Pedersen, Pro Farmer Associate Editor

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, showers and thunderstorms are causing temporary fieldwork disruptions but boosting soil moisture for emerging summer crops. "Rain is especially beneficial in the upper Midwest, which — until recently — had trended dry since late-summer 2011," USDA explains.

In the West, USDA reports cooler-than-normal weather continues to limit crop development in much of California and the Northwest. "A few showers linger across the Northwest, but dry weather across the remainder of the region favors planting activities and other spring fieldwork," USDA adds.

On the Plains, USDA says cooler air is overspreading Montana. "Across the remainder of the nation's mid-section, warm weather continues to promote planting activities and a torrid pace of winter wheat development," USDA reports. By April 29, wheat was already beginning to head (5%) in Nebraska, with the majority of the crop (74%, compared to the five-year average of 7%) already headed in Kansas, according to USDA.

In the South, USDA explains warm, mostly dry weather favors a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop development. "Isolated showers are confined to the central Gulf Coast region," USDA adds.

In its outlook, USDA says a series of disturbances will continue to trigger widespread showers and thunderstorms across the northern half of the U.S. "Five-day rainfall totals could reach 1 to 3 inches, with locally higher amounts, in the Midwest," USDA explains. Farther south, USDA says dry weather will prevail from central and southern California into the Southwest, while isolated showers will affect the southern Plains and the Southeast. "Meanwhile, the majority of the nation will experience above-normal temperatures into early next week," USDA reports. Chilly conditions will persist, however, in California and the Northwest, while cool air will begin to overspread the northern Plains and upper Midwest during the weekend, according to USDA.


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