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Badly needed planting window opening

Jeff Caldwell 06/17/2013 @ 8:44am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

After a soggy weekend in many spots around the nation's central third, weather watchers say the planting weather window will open this week, allowing what could be the final stretch of the mad dash to get this year's crops into the ground.

"Rains this past weekend maintained abundant moisture and stalled planting in the southwestern Midwest, but rains in the central Plains did improve moisture supplies for heading wheat," says MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney. "Rains should ease a bit in the west-central Midwest early this week, which will allow some limited late planting of soybeans to occur."

The weekend saw storms rumble through the Midwest, with rainfall amounts of almost 4 inches falling in parts of the region. Greene County, Iowa, saw 3.88 inches over the weekend, according to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet, and totals like that sent rivers, like the Raccoon River in Iowa, swelling from their banks. The good thing, however, is that much of the weekend rain fell in areas that haven't seen the highest amounts in the last few weeks, says Harvey Freese, senior ag meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Coupled with warmer temperatures and only light precipitation, both planting and early crop development should fire up this week.

"For once, the heaviest rain activity occurred elsewhere. A few spotty showers or sprinkles are possible across this region the next several days, but overall we expect a big break in the wet weather action for this area in particular through midweek. Some scattered light showers are forecast across northern Iowa and southern Minnesota later this week, but this rain activity is forecast to be in the .10" to .20" range," Freese says. "This week the forecast calls for temperatures in the 80s with a few 90s in the western Corn Belt and mostly 70s/80s across the eastern Corn Belt warming to the upper 80s and low 90s across the southern Corn Belt states later this week. This warm weather should help to dry the wet topsoils, encourage germination, and speed early vegetative growth of corn and soybeans."

The potential for better field conditions is not just welcomed, but absolutely necessary for some farmers who say "enough already" to the continuing rainfall. Though USDA's Crop Progress report on Monday is expected to show soybean planting to be in its homestretch, some say they've yet to plant a soybean, and prevented planting crop insurance may be about the only choice now.

"I replanted 21 acres of corn yesterday and got stuck three times. No beans planted on my farms. Maybe my 570 acres of beans are too much for a 16-row planter, and I shouldn't qualify for crop insurance," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk senior contributor idalivered.  "A very few getting mudded in in my area."

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