Wake-Up Weather for March 13, 2009

Published on: 09:24AM Mar 13, 2009
Produced by Storm Exchange, Inc

Canadian prairies frozen: Temperatures have been running 12 F below average in the past 3-4 weeks, creating deep frost in farm fields that threatens to delay spring planting.  Drought in the Western Canadian prairies is another worry.  A large area of Alberta, the leading canola province, has received only 40-60% of normal precipitation since September.  Western Saskatchewan has received 60-85% of normal moisture in the past 6 months.
North Dakota planting worries:   The blizzard that swept across North Dakota earlier this week  added to an already thick snow pack that when melted  will create soggy field conditions.   The snow-water equivalent of the existing snow pack is 2-4 inches in the northeast part of the state and 4-6 inches in the northwest, central and southeast growing areas, based on remote sensing analysis from the National Hydrologic Center.
Welcome warming in Midwest:  Mild air will be overspreading the Midwest in the coming days, raising daytime highs into the mid 40s-mid 50sF over the next 3 days and several degrees above normal.  Bitterly cold weather in recent days increased the frost depth on corn and soybean farms.  Night temperatures fell below zero in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, 25 F below average for this time of year.
Texas rain relief:  Pastures will provide excellent grazing, where 2-4 inches of rain fell this week, but not all areas of Texas got relief from drought.  Southern and Eastern Texas experienced the driest winter on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center.  Winter wheat will not recover from drought.  The leading wheat districts in the Texas panhandle have received only 1.5 inches of rainfall since November 1st compared with 4.5 inches normally.  Wheat ratings have trailed steadily lower since November, settling at 10% good, 27% fair and 63% poor-very poor on March 8th.
Kansas drought:   Kansas did not receive rainfall this week, perpetuating a drought that started in November.  The cold conditions have held moisture stress at bay, but temperatures will be warming into the 60s F Sunday and 70sF Monday.  Topsoil moisture was depleted in a very dry winter leading to a steady deterioration in wheat conditions.  Presently the crop is rated 45% good-excellent, 38% fair and 17% poor-very poor.  Deep-rooted wheat has been subsisting on subsoil moisture, but is starting to decline.  Heavy spring rainfall is required for a chance at good yields.

Extended outlook hopeful for rain: A cold front will be dropping out of Canada Wednesday and may stall in the Central Great Plains, increasing chances for rain in the hard red winter wheat belt.  Forecasting models suggest that central Kansas could pick up .25-.5 inch of moisture.  However, the western High Plains would get only .1-.25 inch.
Argentina soybeans:  The USDA dropped its estimate of Argentina soybean production to 43 million tons on the March Supply-Demand report from 43.8 million tons month earlier.  A report from the Foreign Agriculture Service cited irreversible damage from earlier drought as a main reason for the decline.  Our production estimate is 46 million tons, based on drenching rainfall in February that boosted pod filling in Santa Fe and Cordoba, the leading soy provinces. 
South America forecast:  A warm and dry weather pattern dominates the continent, except in a trough of low pressure that extends from Mato Grosso to Sao Paulo where heavy rain is predicted.  Mato Grosso soy harvesting is in full swing, but may be disrupted by 4-5 inches of rainfall in the next several days.  Harvesting in Parana is picking up momentum and will benefit from a dry forecast.

Produced by Storm Exchange, Inc