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Planting delays may hang on La Niña

John Walter 03/06/2012 @ 2:34pm

The current La Niña may be on its last legs, but if it hangs on through spring planting, farmers in a large part of the Corn Belt could face some strong odds of planting delays, according to a new report released by The Climate Corporation.  If La Niña does persist, the greatest likelihood for delays and related crop losses is in Ohio and Indiana, says Jeff Hamlin, director of agronomic research for company. The losses could amount  to 40 million bushels, or a value of $230 million, Hamlin says.

A La Niña event is normally associated with above-normal precipitation, including in the north-central U.S., the Ohio Valley, upper Southeast, and the Pacific Northwest.

La Niña conditions are still in place as of the first week in March, but are expected to “transition to neutral-ENSO conditions” over the next several months, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“Our study looked at the impacts on corn planting we would expect to see if La Niña stays in effect through the spring planting period,” Hamlin told Agriculture.com. “Based on an analysis of historical La Niña events, we would expect to see significantly delayed planting in almost all of Ohio, most of eastern Indiana, most of the thumb of Michigan, and some other isolated areas.

“Of course, if La Niña conditions do disappear before spring planting starts, we would expect different planting conditions," he said.

With La Niña conditions, growers in other areas of the nation, including parts of Kansas, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, are much less likely to experience planting delays compared to an average year, the report said.

The Climate Corporation generated the outlook from its global weather simulation model, which combines data from various sources  to predict weather as well as agronomic and crop yield effects.  The company provides customizable weather insurance policies for farmers, based on growers’ specific weather risks.

For more information: www.climate.com


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