Wake-Up Weather for February 19, 2009

Published on: 10:50AM Feb 19, 2009
Produced by Storm Exchange, Inc

Mato Grosso soy yield expected lower: Premature ripening and early harvesting is evidence of January drought stress in Brazil's leading soy state.  There was too much heat and dryness during the important pod setting stage, arguing for a lower yield. Showers have increased sharply in February, improving prospects for late-maturing beans but significant damage has been done.  Despite refreshing rains in February the vegetation index showed evidence of premature ripening and drought stress in Mato Grosso’s key Center West soy region.
Argentina corn estimate reduced again:  The Argentina Agriculture Secretariat sliced another million metric tons off the corn crop reducing the estimate to 12. 5 million tons in a monthly crop report issued yesterday.  An estimated 28% of corn was harvested for silage, due to severe drought damage.  This would be the smallest crop since 1995-96 and 40% less than last season.

Argentina soy area expanded: Growers planted an additional 500,000 hectares of soybeans after drought-breaking rains developed in late January, according to the Agriculture Secretary, boosting the soy area to a record 17 million hectares and 2.4% higher than last season.   Heavy rainfall in the top producing areas of Santa Fe and Cordoba since late January is generating “good expectations for future yields” according to the Secretary.   

More rain is needed:   Optimism over soy yields would diminish if rainfall did not develop on a regular basis, because subsoil moisture is badly depleted after a November-January drought.  Conditions have been hot and dry for a week, but strong thunderstorms are  in the weekend forecast.  Up to 2-3 inches  of rain is predicted in Santa Fe and Cordoba along an unstable front.  Buenos Aires will miss the heaviest rainfall but will receive scattered heavy rainfall in thunderstorms.

China wheat suffering in a drought:  Up to 10% of the wheat crop may be lost to drought this season, despite efforts by the government to increase irrigation.  Unusual warm February temperatures have coaxed wheat out of dormancy, increasing the demand for moisture.  Light to moderate showers in early February affected hard hit drought provinces Shaanxi and Shanxi, but rainfall merely stemmed the tide of deterioration.  China wheat stocks are ample, the highest since 2002, because of a string of bumper harvests in recent years.  

Drought worries in top US wheat state
:    Moisture stress is increasing in Kansas in an ongoing winter drought.  The top US wheat state received excellent planting rains in September and October that aided root establishment, but field moisture has steadily deteriorated since then.  Out of 11 years with similar intense drying from November through February, only 2 ended with a favorable yield.  Heavy rain must develop in March for Kansas wheat to have a chance for favorable production.  No rain is expected in the upcoming week.

Severe drought in Southern Plains:  Texas and Oklahoma prospects are worse than Kansas due to more intense drought. Only 25-35% of normal rainfall was received in western Oklahoma and West Texas since November 1st, placing this year’s drought among the worst 10% on record.  The Texas wheat rating deteriorated on February 15th,  despite scattered .5-1 inch rains, dropping to 38% very poor, 26% poor, and only 12% good-excellent.   Oklahoma wheat was 36% poor-very poor and 24% good-excellent on February 1st, the last report issued.

Wintry weather returns to Midwest:  Bitter cold weather and increasing snowfall are forecast on Midwest farms over the next several days.  An impressive winter storm will develop Friday night that will bring accumulating snow to the Midwest – 2-4 inches in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa and potentially 6 inches across northern Illinois, northern Indiana, Michigan and northern Ohio.

Bitter cold in Upper Midwest:  Temperatures plunged to zero F this morning in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, a reminder that winter is not finished.  Below-normal temperatures are expected to last for 5 or 6 days in the Midwest. Read yesterday’s weather-risk story to find out how cold and wet Midwest fields are 10 weeks ahead of corn planting.

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