Wake-Up Weather for February 6, 2009

Published on: 10:14AM Feb 06, 2009

Strong warming in the heartland: Temperatures warmed up into the 60s and 70s F in the Great Plains Thursday, and heat will be expanding into Midwest tomorrow producing temperatures 15-20 F above normal. A thick blanket of snow that covers most of the Corn Belt will begin melting tomorrow with highs in the upper 40s F and 50sF. Continued warmth early next week will melt away all the snow and may produce some flooding along with heavy soaking rains.
January was cold: Midwest temperatures were 4-9 F below normal in January, boosting up feeding rates on cattle and pig farms. Supplemental feed was running low in some areas of North Dakota and Minnesota, where January temperatures were barely above zero F, day and night. Feed supplies in Iowa were adequate according to USDA.
Hard red wheat expecting rain: West Texas and Oklahoma wheat farms are expecting .25-.5 inch of rainfall Sunday night and some parts of Kansas may receive up to an inch of rain. January was incredibly dry throughout the hard red wheat zone leading to a reduction in wheat ratings across the board. Drought stress became severe in Texas and Oklahoma, where rainfall has been virtually absent since November 1st.
Is Texas wheat beyond repair?   Whenever November-January drought has been this severe, production has decreased by at least 20% and most often by 40-50%. Moreover, an increase in rainfall heading into the spring did not significantly improve wheat. Look for a special wheat report on Texas wheat in Crop Projections today.
Drought damage in China wheat: China’s key winter wheat growing areas have been damaged by a severe drought that was classified as a level 2 emergency by the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief.   An estimated 40% of the wheat area has been affected by serious drought, but the Ministry of Agriculture pointed out that a portion of the drought affected wheat has been irrigated. China has not imported any wheat in the past 3 years. One million tons of wheat were imported in 2005-06 and 6.75 million tons in 2004-05.
Dry and hot in Mato Grosso: A 1-2 inch rainfall deficit has already built up in February in a dry weather pattern. Ordinarily midsummer rainfall in the tropics is copious, around 2.5 inches weekly, but scarcely an inch of rain has developed this month to date. January was also dry in the important Center West area. February temperatures have been running 4-5 F above normal.  
Recurring thunderstorms in Argentina: Repeating storms have produced significant rainfall since January 25th, days hitting some of the hardest hit drought areas in the grain belt. Santa Fe has gotten 2-4 inches of rain, but it arrives too late to rescue severely damaged soybeans that received 40-50% of normal rainfall the previous 90 days. Cordoba soybeans have made some improvement. Heat is the common enemy. Mid 90sF will be returning to the grain belt next week reducing the benefits of recent heavy rainfall.