Grab a La Nina 'Summer Sneak Peek' With This Interactive Tool

May 20, 2016 07:52 AM

La Niña is coming, La Niña is coming!

Farmers have heard this, and they may have heard it hurts crop yields on average. But what if they could get more specific and look at what weather they could reasonably expect on a month-to-month basis? What if they could dig into yield deviations from normal on a sub-state level rather than listen to proclamations about the entire Corn Belt?

Turns out there’s a tool from Useful to Usable (U2U) that does just that. U2U is a USDA-funded and Extension-driven project that offers a variety of informational climate tools for farmers and others in the agriculture industry. One of these is called the Climate Patterns Viewer.

The Climate Patterns Viewer looks at how the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Arctic Oscillation (AO) influence local climate conditions and corn yields. The interactive tool allows farmers to look at how past El Niño and La Niña events affected temperature and precipitation on a month-by-month basis.

Seeing a more detailed picture of summertime La Niñas reveal some nuance – they’re not singularly “good” or “bad” for corn yields, even if the net effect on corn yields during past events has been negative. As the map suggests, certain “garden spots” could play out in parts of the Dakotas, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. On average, parts of Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana take the biggest corn yield hits in La Niña summers.


To explore the interactive Climate Patterns Viewer maps, visit

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Spell Check

Madison, NY
5/24/2016 09:12 PM

  There are farms in the northeast too.

Mark C. Daggy
Humboldt, IA
5/27/2016 08:31 AM

  We need a 1934 - 1936 drought to fix the excess grain problem created by farmers who fail to control grain production to the point where prices stabilize at a profitable level. I want to poke my finger in my throat when the agriculture ads show farmers feeding the world. Hoping the California drought moves into the entire Midwest like from 1934 to 1936, and we have grain prices soar. Since 98% to 99% of the chickens, eggs, turkeys and hogs are owned by investors as well as the responsibility to pay the feed bills, where farmers are simply contract feeders....the high feed costs will go to these non-farming investors. Much like it states in Revelations where a quart of wheat will cost a days labor. Much like when we where in SE Asia and we called in artillery and air strikes on our own positions to stop the closely entrenched enemy....we need a severe drought called in on the entire farming nation.

central, MN
5/20/2016 04:09 PM

  I find it interesting you are using 2010 as the control year. 2010 was the best yielding year we have ever seen. So 10 bushels off are best year ever is still way above average.


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