The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
Relentless Showers Continue in Midwest
Waves of strong thunderstorms developed in the Midwest over the holiday weekend flooding fields and hampering efforts to finish planting. Rainfall in the week ending May 25 averaged 1.3 inches and 50% above normal. Additional heavy rains have developed since then. Wetness is most pronounced in the western Corn Belt and Illinois.
Recurring heavy rains have been the dominant theme this spring, making the April-May 2013 one of the wettest on record. Through May 25th 8.33 inches of rainfall has developed, the 10th highest on record, though it does not include the heavy rainfall since Sunday. The danger with wet seed beds is that roots develop in a shallow layer near the surface, increasing the potential for summer drought if the topsoil dries out. At the moment, soil erosion from flooding is the main concern with massive runoff.
Crop development in corn and soybean is 8-12 days behind schedule from persistent wetness stalling planting. Cool spring temperatures have also been detrimental.
May Drought in Breadbasket
While heavy rains have pounded the Midwest, the Great Plains has grown steadily drier this spring, particularly on the High Plains. Rainfall since March 1 has been 25% below average, but 35% below normal in May, as wheat heading and grain filling advanced. Wheat potential has worsened reflected by declining crop conditions to 46% poor-very poor and only 23% good-excellent May 19. We don’t expect any major improvement May 26, the updated conditions due today from USDA.
Whereas drought is the chief concern in the Southwest Great Plains, flooding has damaged the spring wheat outlook in North Dakota. Planting was only 50% complete May 19th when recurring strong showers developed, saturating fields. The 2011 delayed planting nightmare may be repeating. Two years ago a heavy snowmelt severely set back spring planting. The 2011 wheat harvest finished at 167.7 million bushels and the smallest in 9 years.
Prospects for soft red winter and western white wheat are quite favorable but the hard wheat outlook is in serious jeopardy. Winter wheat production was pegged down 10% in USDA’s first official survey May 10.
Weather Forecast Still Way Too Wet
Scattered strong thunderstorms are is expected to continue this week in the Midwest, fueled by a moist air stream from the Gulf of Mexico. Iowa has a chance for showers virtually every day in the upcoming week, above a 65% risk. The atmosphere would be unstable and ripe for showers. Northern Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri also have an elevated risk of showers most days this week.
Warming is predicted in the Midwest the next several days encouraging strong evaporation. However the main story is an unstable atmosphere and a wet forecast. Clockwise winds around a large ridge of high pressure on the East Coast would direct Gulf moisture into the US heartland, fueling strong showers and thunderstorms over the next 4-5 days. Weather conditions would become more settled on the weekend when a cool, dry Canadian air mass descends into the Great Plains and Midwest on the weekend.