Weather Forecast for Spring Planting

March 29, 2009 07:00 PM

Margy Fischer, Farm Journal Machinery Editor
With severe flooding in the Red River Valley and Upper Missouri River Valley, farmers are casting a weary eye to the weather for the upcoming 2009 planting season. During the Top Producer Pre-Planting & Weather Outlook Webinar Planalytics Senior Ag-Business Meteorologist Fred Gesser provided insights on the current weather news and outlook into April and May.
Gesser noted the challenging weather conditions effecting the Red River Valley and Upper Missouri River Basin, which resulted in the current flooding. He also said so far this year the weather has provided a case of the haves and have-nots.
"Two months ago, it was apparent we were heading into some problems this spring,” he notes. "There was too much moisture in the red river valley and upper Mississippi, and too little in the plains. The flooding will affect communities, fields in their wake and barges trying to make their way up the river.”
He says it's important to note this flooding is much earlier than the flooding of the upper Midwest in 2008. As of early March, the red river valley had 10” to 20” of snowfall above normal. Then, one warm-up triggered the melting. On the heels of that, another major storm brought another 10 to 30” of snow. As of March 24, 48 gauges in upper and middle Midwest reporting moderate to major flooding.
Meanwhile across Texas, Oklahoma and western Kansas, they've experienced a   persistent drought through much of the winter. He says, any upcoming rainfall won't be helpful to the hard red winter wheat crops, but those rains could provide some much needed moisture for other plantings this spring.
As for areas of concern heading into April, there will be some areas of concern.
There will be below normal temps and increased precipitation from Texas through the Mississippi River valley, Tennessee River valley and Ohio River valley.
The Dakotas, Upper Mississippi River valley, and northern Missouri River valley will need to be watched. There is a threat of late planting, and delays into late April and mid-May to due to a heightened chance of cold wet soils.
Gesser predicts the April outlook may impact barge traffic can from the flooding and spring rainfall for the Mississippi, Illinois and Ohio river systems.
He also notes that while drought has a good hold on Texas, there will be improved rain across the state to bring some drought relief. But any relief is only forecasted as temporary and the summer will bring another threat of drought.  
For More Information

You can e-mail Margy Fischer at

Back to news


Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer