Temps rising . . . precipitation amounts, too?
Frequent cold fronts and a polar jet stream tearing through the U.S. brought a ferociously cold and windy start to 2014.
Temperatures will not be as cold moving forward, says Kyle Tapley, senior agricultural meteorologist at MDA Information Systems LLC. The last half of January is the coldest time of year, so we’ll expect warmer temps heading into the end of February and into March.
We’re still expecting below-average temperatures in the Midwest and Plains, he says.
The cold temperatures are taking a toll on farmers and ranchers this year. Single-digit highs continue to deplete our propane supplies, necessary to heat homes as well as poultry barns and piglet nurseries.
- Propane logjam reaching crisis stage on some farms
- Winter relief, a farm bill, and $2.00 corn?
- Propane problems cause crisis for livestock producers
As far as precipitation outlooks, it really depends on where you’re located. Northern Plains states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Iowa) should expect above-normal precipitation, and it’s looking to be average in the Midwest, states Tapley. Areas that are affected by the drought including the West as well as western Kansas and Oklahoma will receive less precipitation than they normally have in March and early April.
Now, whether that precipitation (even at above or at average amounts) will pull us out of the drought we're currently in is still up for grabs.
Tapley informs us that the bout of snow we’ve had recently helped our soil moisture stretch closer to normal levels, giving some relief to farmers.
However, throwing snow into the mix of frigid cold isn’t aiding cattle producers in the midst of calving season. Many have shared concerns of having as many as four calves in their house to simply keep them alive and warm.
Here’s to hoping for nicer weather!