March delivered seasonable temperatures
to much of the Nation, with average recordings varying from slightly below to slightly above normal. In contrast, the Great Lakes and New England continued to experience abnormally warm temperatures for a third consecutive month. Average temperatures reached as many as 12 degrees above normal in portions of Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Elsewhere, temperatures in parts of Alabama, Georgia, and much of Florida were cooler than normal, falling to as many as 9 degrees below average. Much of the country received less than normal precipitation during the month. Conversely, above average precipitation continued to fall on locations in the Southwest, southern Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, Florida, and along the northern Atlantic Coast where monthly accumulations reached 200 percent of normal or more.
Early in the month, row crop producers
completed fieldwork where conditions allowed. Excessively wet fields in the Southern Low Plains of Texas slowed fieldwork and herbicide applications for cotton producers, while producers in the Northern High Plains waited for more favorable soil conditions and warmer temperatures before planting their crop. In Oklahoma, seedbed preparation remained behind normal throughout the month for all row crops except peanuts. Following the sluggish start to spring fieldwork, corn, cotton, and sorghum planting was underway in several States by month's end.
Small grain seeding was underway
well ahead of normal in the major producing areas of Washington early in the month despite a limited snowpack and potential lack of irrigation supplies. Although the winter wheat crop in
Oklahoma benefitted from mid-month precipitation, warmer temperatures were needed to accelerate crop growth. Barley and Durum wheat emergence was virtually complete in Arizona by March 21. The majority of Kansas's winter wheat crop was reported in good to excellent condition with minimal insect, freeze, or wind damage. By month's end, heading was evident in South Texas oat fields, as well as barley and Durum wheat fields in Arizona. Some winter wheat fields were being harvested for silage in California.
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