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Fieldwork Weather Window Opening?
Looking at the market this morning, corn, wheat and beans are all slightly down as we start the 8th day of April.
Although the full crop progress report has been delayed by 24 hours, some data has been released at the state level. Starting with corn, Louisiana leads the pack with around 90% of it's corn crop planted. Texas is next in line with around 54% planted, with 40% for Mississippi and 24% for Arkansas. Planted corn % is right around average for both Texas and Louisiana, although Arkansas and Mississippi are around 20% behind schedule compared to the 5-year average. Soybeans are 8% planted for Louisiana, 4% Mississippi, and only 1% for Arkansas, around 2% behind the 5-year average. Looking at winter wheat, good and excellent condition is a meager 13% for Texas, 15% for Oklahoma, and 29% for Kansas.
Over the last seven days, the national average for suitable fieldwork was only 3 days. Most of the Southern Midwest/Delta region saw less than 3 days suitable for fieldwork while most of the Southern Plains saw between 5 and 6 days suitable for fieldwork due to a considerably drier pattern. Looking at the weather ahead, more wet weather is in store for portions of the Delta and southern/eastern Midwest today as an upper trough of low pressure slowly exits the region.
Although most precipitation will be light (Generally 0.25" or less), saturated soils and more moisture will further delay fieldwork. Wednesday through Saturday a much needed dry spell will work its way into the Midwest and Delta region, although a few scattered rainfall chances will present themselves through the week. The first chance at some generally light precipitation will be Thursday afternoon across the central and eastern Midwest as a broken band of showers shifts southward along an advancing cold front.
This boundary will stall across the southern Midwest Friday, and combined with an approaching upper wave will result in a narrow axis of showers developing across the southern Ohio and northern Tennessee Valleys. Saturday night through Sunday, a surge of cold, Canadian air will intensify a cold front across the Northern and Central Plains, spreading an axis of widespread and locally heavy precipitation southward through the Southern Plains, Midwest and Delta through the early Monday.
Unfortunately, most of this rainfall will fall in all the wrong places as the western HRW Wheat crop is likely once again to miss out on heavier rainfall, with more widespread precip to fall across the saturated Delta and cornbelt regions. Although a lot of details remain to be worked out, more fieldwork delays to start next week are a distinct possiblity, which may provide near-term support grains prices.
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