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Planting weather watch turns up crop concerns

John Walter 02/07/2012 @ 11:11am

Meterologists have begun to focus on spring crop planting prospects, with one eye on the dry weather threatening key agricultural areas of the country. While new precipitation has begun to improve conditions in California and parts of the Corn Belt and Northern Plains, large areas of these regions will still need additional levels to build soil moisture.

"Dryness has been persistent for much of the winter across northern MT, central and northern ND, MN, WI, and central IA, with is in stark contrast from the situation last year," Donald Keeney, MDA EarthSat Weather, wrote on Tuesday.

"Some shower activity has helped to improve moisture a bit in SD, NE, western and eastern IA, and even into far southern ND; however, the expected dry pattern in most of these areas over the next 2-3 weeks will allow moisture shortages to expand once again," Keeney said.

"This area will need to be watched closely in the coming months, as the dryness would result in some problems with germination of early planted corn and soybeans," he said.

HELP FOR TEXAS?

On Tuesday morning, Freese-Notis Weather reported that the rains currently falling along the Califorina coast "are welcome news for this area of the country."

The remnants of the storm in southern California, and others, could help to increase the odds of precipitation over western Texas later this week and next, the weather service said.

The National Weather Service 6- to 10-day outlook for February 12-16 calls for near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the nation, contrasting with wetter-than-normal conditions from the south-central U.S. into the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, said USDA's Brad Rippey, an agricultural meterologist.

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