Martell: HRW Wheat in Jeopardy from Drought

March 31, 2014 07:09 AM
 

 

 

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com: 

Hard Red Wheat in Jeopardy from Drought

Scattered showers moved through the Southern Great Plains last week denting drought in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Even when the rain is included, March precipitation was only 20-40% of normal in the 3 key bread wheat states. Drought goes back at least 3 months, the 90-day rainfall analysis indicating very dry condition the southern Plains.

7 Day Observed Rainfall Percent of Normal

March is when rainfall typically begins increasing in the Great Plains, the first month of spring. No so, this year. Recurring cold, dry Arctic air masses have descended into the heartland perpetuating drought in hard red winter wheat, also slowing growth and development. Warm, moist winds from the Gulf of Mexico were blocked by stable high pressure.

The Southwest United States also is suffering from severe drought. This is reducing forage for cattle grazing in California, New Mexico and Texas, thus increasing supplemental feed needs. Texas is the United States top beef cattle state.

Observed US Precipitation Past 30 Days

A sharply reduced harvest of hard red wheat, should it occur, would shrink US bread wheat supplies. Disappointing harvests have occurred in 2 of the past 3 growing seasons, 2013 and 2011. Production of hard red spring wheat has also shrunk in recent years compared to the 2008-2010 mean production.

Frozen Midwest Corn Fields

Midwest fields are still mostly frozen at the end of March, threatening to delay corn planting. Fieldwork ordinarily begins in late April in preparation for corn planting May 1, but deep penetrating frost is a hindrance to timely planting.

Cold Temperatures Last Week

Midwest fields are still mostly frozen at the end of March, threatening to delay corn planting. Fieldwork ordinarily begins in late April in preparation for corn planting May 1, but deep penetrating frost is a hindrance to timely planting.

Precipitation in the Midwest corn belt has been heavy from time to time, but mostly below average winter into spring. The driest corn farms are west of the Mississippi River in Iowa, Nebraska, Kansa, Missouri and Wisconsin, labeled "abnormally dry" in the US Drought Monitor.

Precipitation Forecast Mar31 Apr 6

Very wet conditions are predicted this week in the Midwest while mostly dry weather prevails in the Southern Great Plains. At one-inch of rain is expected on Midwest corn farms, but up to 3 inches in southern Illinois. The Gulf is expected to open up, increasing humidity and encouraging very heavy rainfall. Where fields have thawed, rainfall would be beneficial replenishing ground moisture. Significant runoff is expected in the Midwest, due to frozen fields, however.


 

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