One weather expert expects Midwest farmers to see rain showers during the next couple of months.
If Mother Nature were available for farmers to talk with right now, a lot of them would give the old girl a piece of their mind about the historic 2012 drought, and their language would probably be a wee bit salty to say the least.
While Mother Nature is unavailable for discussion, U.S. meterologists fortunately are present and actively tracking weather conditions. One such expert is Jeff Doran, senior business meteorologist for Planalytics, Inc., headquartered in Berwyn, Pa., near Philadelphia. The company provides 90-day weather forecasts for its customers.
Short-term, Doran says he expects Midwest farmers will see rain showers during the next couple of months.
"We’re looking at a tremendous amount of moisture heading into the fall," predicts Doran, who spoke during a recent Agrotain media briefing near Ames, Iowa. Agrotain, recently acquired by Koch Agronomic Services, is a nitrogen stabilizer business.
September rains will be due in part, he says, to the effect of Hurricane Isaac. October rains will be part of what he sees as a changing weather trend.
For instance, Doran says 4.25" of rain is typical in the Boone, Iowa, area in October. This year, farmers there may see more than 8" of rainfall, according to Doran, as well as normal to below-normal temperatures.
Greg Schwab, director of agronomy for Agrotain, encourages farmers to be cautious about when they apply anhydrous ammonia this fall, as moisture extremes--either too much or too little--can have negative consequences. At this point, Schwab is still concerned about insufficient moisture.
"The soil has to have moisture to seal the soil after that anhydrous application," he says. "If not sealed, the anhydrous will escape back into the atmosphere; you need to wait until there’s some moisture for that application to be effective."
Weather change. Doran believes the United States will enter a weather transition this fall. He says the country is coming out of the second year of a La Nina cycle, which tends to create extreme weather conditions for the United States.
La Nina, which means female child in Spanish, is a weather phenomenon that involves cooling surface water over thousands of nautical miles in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
Richard Seager, a drought researcher and professor at Columbia University, says the 2012 U.S. drought, as well as historic droughts in the past century, are tied closely to a La Nina weather pattern.
Now, Doran says the country is moving into an El Nino cycle.
"We tend to have more moderate weather patterns and more moisture with El Nino," he reports.
The weather pattern El Nino, Spanish for male child, involves warming water surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This warming trend tends to contribute to increased rainfall in parts of the United States.
If El Nino comes to pass this fall, Doran says farmers can expect to see a cold, snowy winter in the Great Plains and throughout the Northeast.
Moving into spring 2013, the good news is that Doran says he does not anticipate another extreme drought scenario. Nor does he believe the country is experiencing what he terms as runaway global warming. Instead, he believes weather patterns are cyclical.
"What we can say with a lot of confidence is 2013 will not be like 2012," he reports "There will still be some moisture deficits, but we do believe we we’re going to be in a better moisture situation going into next spring."
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