Planting Slides to a Squishy Stop

Planting Slides to a Squishy Stop

The past week or so has seen a planting surge as Corn Belt farmers raced across their fields at a near record clip. As of May 3, an estimated 55% of U.S. corn was in the ground – up from only 19% the week before.

But then came the rains. Several systems are expected to dump precipitation over most of the country during the next several days, according to The Weather Channel forecasts, including:

  • May 8: Rainfall in the Rockies, Mid-South, Missouri and Illinois, with more severe weather in Texas, Oklahoma and southern Kansas.
  • May 9: Rain and snow in the Rockies, more severe weather for Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, and rain showers stretching from Arkansas northeast toward Michigan and Ohio.
  • May 10: Rain throughout the western and eastern Corn Belt,  Great Plains and Texas.
  • May 11: Rain continues throughout the eastern Corn Belt, mid-Atlantic and Eastern U.S., the Mid-South and Texas.
  • May 12: Rain continues Texas eastward to the southeastern U.S., plus rain in the northeastern U.S. and Pacific Northwest.

Further out, The Weather Channel’s 30-day precipitation outlook shows average conditions in the eastern Corn Belt, with wetter-than-normal conditions expected in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Teas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

Jed Lafferty, managing director for life sciences at Planalytics, says these rain events will definitely slow down planting in many areas, including Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Missouri and Illinois.

“While these states are all ahead of their five-year planting averages, daily episodes of 1” to 2” of rain over the next three days could delay further planting until the next dry window sets in early next week,” he says.

Meantime, should any farmers still be worried about the potential for frost? Lafferty says nighttime temperatures could fall into the low to mid-30s from western Nebraska and eastern Colorado across South Dakota and Minnesota on Sunday and Monday. Corn emergence in Minnesota was reported at 8% earlier this week and could have doubled in the meantime.

“Normal last freeze dates for much of Minnesota fall between the 10th and 20th of May, so this event is not out of the ordinary,” he says. “What is not normal is such early planting.”

For farmer analysis on how the 2015 planting season has progressed, visit AgWeb Crop Comments or the “spring of 15” thread on the AgWeb discussion boards.

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