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USDA: Hard Freezes in the Corn Belt Not a Threat to Corn or Wheat

April 12, 2012
By: Meghan Pedersen, Pro Farmer Associate Editor

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, freeze warnings are in effect this morning. "Hard freezes (28°F or below) were noted as far south as Iowa and central portions of Illinois and Indiana," according to USDA. However, USDA reports the freeze does not appear to pose a major threat to heading winter wheat (31% heading in Missouri and 8% in Illinois by April 8) or newly emerged corn (2% emerged in Illinois). Meanwhile, USDA says cool, breezy weather accompanies a few snow showers in the lower Great Lakes region, where producers continue to monitor fruit crops for signs of freeze injury.

In the West, USDA reports favorably wet weather in California is benefiting pastures, winter grains and newly planted summer crops, as well as easing irrigation requirements and resulting in some high-elevation snow. "Much cooler weather accompanies the storminess, but warmth lingers across the Rockies," USDA explains.

On the Plains, USDA says a band of showers and thunderstorms stretches from southern Kansas into eastern Oklahoma. "Meanwhile, warm weather is returning to the northern High Plains, where today's highs could approach 80°F," USDA adds.

In the South, a few showers and thunderstorms — in the vicinity of a warm front — stretch across Arkansas and into central Mississippi, according to USDA. "North and east of the warm front, cool, dry weather prevails," USDA adds. However, the Southeast escaped this morning's freeze that affected areas farther to the north, USDA elaborates. "In part due to worsening drought, several wildfires remain active in the Atlantic Coast states," USDA explains.

USDA's outlook says the storm currently affecting California will move into the nation’s mid-section late in the week before crossing the Midwest and Northeast during the weekend. "A second storm will closely follow the first, bringing more unsettled weather to the West and the possibility of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms to the central and southern Plains late in the weekend and early next week," USDA reports. Meanwhile, USDA says additional freezes can be expected in parts of the Midwest and Northeast on April 12 and 13, although warmer weather will arrive in those regions during the weekend. "Dry weather and a late-week warming trend will prevail in the Southeast," USDA adds.


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