Martell: Midwest Weather Improves, Still Too Wet or Cold

May 6, 2013 08:22 AM

The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of 

Midwest Weather Improves, Still Too Wet or Cold

Weather conditions have improved in some areas of the Midwest, allowing corn planting to make progress. Portions of eastern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio have avoided heavy rainfall the past 2 weeks allowing corn planting to make progress. Most Midwest corn fields are still too wet, however, following 8-10 inches of rainfall in April. The USDA today will release updated corn planting data for the week ending May 5. As of April 28, just 5% of corn was sown, compared to 31% on average the past 5 years.

2 Weekly Rainfall

Soggy Fields a Risk Factor for Shallow Roots

In the Eastern Midwest fields are sufficiently warm to guarantee seeds will germinate. Wet field conditions are the main hazard. Planting into soggy fields would promote a shallow root system in corn. This is hazardous for summer drought stress, if the upper soil layer dries out. Fields compacted with water may dry into a hard crust, hindering deep- root development. A well drained seed bed is the first step toward a productive yield.

Abnormally Cold  Last Week in Heartland

Northern Corn Areas Too Cold to Plant

Temperatures last week were abnormally cold in the Upper Midwest causing soil temperatures to go backward in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Sunday morning field temperatures at the 4-16 inch depth were still mid 30s- mid 40s F. Corn seeds germinate only when the topsoil is 52 F or warmer.

Soil Temperatures Sunday Morning

A swath of heavy snow even developed last week from Nebraska northeastward to Minnesota and Wisconsin and including northwest Iowa. Snow has mostly melted, but conditions may be too wet for planting to progress.

If planting delays grow severe, Upper Midwest producers may be forced to substitute short-cycle corn for the full-season, higher yielding varieties.

Wet Weather to Resume on Wheat and Corn Farms

The week is beginning on a warm and sunny note but showers are expected to resume Wednesday night - Thursday when a large, slow-moving storm system develops. A trough in the southern jet stream would spin out wave of low pressure into the US heartland.

Wet Forecast Southern United States

Heavy rainfall is predicted in key winter wheat farms in Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma, where 1-2 inch rains are likely. West Texas and SW Oklahoma would receive less rainfall, under .50 inch.

Top corn producing areas of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa are expecting .75 to 1.25 inch of rainfall. Similar rains are anticipated in Central-Southern Illinois, the southen half of Indiana and south Ohio. The slow moving storm would be a big rain maker in the Mid South too.

High pressure would keep the Upper Great Lakes region dry, Wisconsin and Michigan while modest rainfall affects Minnesota, South Dakota and northern areas of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.


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