Spring Planting On Hold in the North, Progressing Slowly in the South

Farmers are getting the itch to plant, but some might not be starting for a while yet. Ryan Martin is an ag meteorologist from Warsaw, Indiana. He says good planting weather in parts of the Corn Belt will be hard to come by.

“My opinion is we are not going to see planting weather over a large part of the country anytime soon. But the first thing we have to do is we have to defy the Corn Belt, East versus West. In the west, concerning soil temperatures and soil conditions, I think we can get there or at least to a plantable level sooner than in the East. The East is just way too wet as it sits right now. More rain is coming, and the pattern is going to be cool everywhere.”

The Corn Belt is looking at around two weeks of below-normal temperatures. Martin; “We are going to be on the cusp of moving into probably a good 10-to-14-day below-normal temperatures stretch across all of the Corn Belt, east to west and north to south, and I think that’s going to prevent large-scale drying from this last round of moisture, and you’re going to be seeing the soil profile in the East just stay wet, probably through the 24th- 25th of April. Now, out west, we’re not dealing with as much moisture up to this point, and so, I think if we get to a plantable condition anywhere, it’ll probably be in the West. I’m thinking Nebraska into western Iowa, maybe not so much South Dakota. We’re still pretty chilly in the north, but that Nebraska, Iowa, northern Missouri area probably gets there first.”

While the Corn Belt is wet and cool, a good chunk of the Plains is still experiencing drought.

“In the Central Plains, even northern plains, no. I think we’re still drier than normal. That drought is persisting, and, definitely, the farther south you go in the plains, it is there. Just look at your wheat crop conditions. They’re horrible, and it’s because of dryness. Now, you get into the western Corn Belt, and we’re still below-normal on moisture in Iowa, northern Missouri, but we’re not horrible, so I don’t think you can paint us in a drought scenario there. And, even into parts of West Central Illinois, we’re still right there on the cusp of dryness, but at this point, that’s kind of what you want. You want to get the crop in the ground, and then you want the moisture to come. So, I don’t think anybody’s complaining about the dryness there. It’s farther into the wheat country that we’re getting complaints on dryness.”

Farmers in the Southeast states are having better luck getting into their fields. Martin; “The Delta had a decent start to planting. I don’t think they’re blowing the pace away here at all. Good moisture has come through here over the past couple of days, and we’re looking at some good moisture in the weeks to come. I think you’re going to be seeing a plodding pace to planting down in the Delta, but I don’t think that raises any red flags right away.”

He talks about some of the states where weather will have the biggest impact on planting progress.

“The red flags concerning planting pace are going to be coming in the eastern Corn Belt. That is Ohio, that is Indiana, Eastern Illinois, Michigan will be slow. And then, I think you’re gonna be seeing the cold air kind of dominate the discussions regarding soil temperatures in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin; this cold air mass that’s coming in here to finish this week is substantial. Parts of North Dakota and northern Minnesota will not get much above 32 to 33 degrees here late this week and into the weekend. You’re not going to get soil temperatures anywhere close to 50 If you have multiple days of data highs down in the lower 30s.”

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