Martell: Midwest Planting Delays Linger

April 29, 2013 03:36 AM

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of 

Corn Planting Stalled in Midwest

Soil temperatures are warm enough to begin planting corn in the southern Midwest, but wet fields are keeping farmers on the sidelines. Central Illinois has received 3-6 times the normal rainfall in the recent 2-3 weeks, generating a 3-inch moisture surplus. In the Northern Midwest, Wisconsin, Minnesota, northern Iowa and South Dakota, field temperatures are still too cold for fieldwork to begin, averaging 37 F and well below the 52 F required to germinate seeds. The driest corn state Nebraska has received 4-6 inches of much- needed precipitation the past 30 days. As of April 21, just 2% of corn was planted compared to 16% for the 5-year average on that date.

Soil Temperatrures April 28

Rapid Snowmelt, Flooding in North Dakota

Northern spring wheat growing areas are subject to flooding from sudden, strong warming that has rapidly and completely melted a thick layer of snow. Weekend temperatures in North Dakota, the top spring wheat state, topped 70 F at Fargo, whereas a week ago, it was only 36 F. This was the first time in 2013 that temperatures exceeded 50 F. The impact on spring wheat planting from a rapid run-off remains to be seen. Two years ago in 2011, thick snow melted very slowly, saturating soil profiles and delaying wheat seeding by 3-6 weeks. A serious delay in planting, if it occurred, would threaten yield potential. North Dakota is the second biggest U.S. wheat state behind Kansas.

Sudden Warming North Dakota

Winter Wheat Damage from Freezes and Drought

Hard freezes in April in Kansas have threatened hard red winter wheat, where development was most advanced, particularly irrigated wheat in southwest Kansas. Jim Shroyer, wheat specialist at Kansas State University, warns some stands may be entirely lost in that district. He also said "dry fields and insects are limiting the yield potential of dry-land wheat in western Kansas as much or more than the freezes." Extreme drought in Oklahoma affects 31% of the state and severe drought, another 54%, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor on April 23, in the U.S. second largest winter wheat state.

Oklahoma Drought Classifications


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