Farmers in parts of the southern-central U.S. will plant corn and soybeans as much as two weeks later than usual because of flooding from rains and melting snow, according to Planalytics Inc.
A storm that dumped 15 inches (38 centimeters) of snow on some growing areas left fields covered from Kentucky and Arkansas into southern Louisiana, said Fred Gesser, the senior agricultural meteorologist for Planalytics. The Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based company expects temperatures as high as 20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the region next week.
“The dramatic warmup next week will lead to flooded fields, and more rain later this month will cause planting delays of up to two weeks,” Gesser said Friday in a telephone interview.
Corn futures tumbled 44 percent in the past 24 months amid record harvests in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower. Mild summer weather helped increase yields last season, even after planting began about a month late in some regions because of wet, cold weather in March and April.
Midwest plantings should be two weeks early, with no major flood threat from Nebraska to Indiana, Gesser said. Soil moisture is normal to slightly dry, and warmer-than-usual weather through April will help to reduce frost and prepare fields for quick planting.
The lower threat of excess moisture in the Midwest will limit the duration of flooding from melting snow in the southern U.S., as rivers stay contained upstream, he said.
Warm Pacific-Ocean temperatures increase the chance for hot, dry weather after planting, posing a risk to Midwest yields, Gesser said.