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Rain's on the way

Jeff Caldwell 06/13/2012 @ 8:30am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Rain's on the way to a lot of the Midwest over the next few days, bringing with it "prospects for improvement within the next 7 to 10 days" in about 3/4 of the Corn Belt.

That's according to Craig Solberg, ag meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., in Des Moines, Iowa. The rainfall is expected to touch upon the driest parts of the region in southern Indiana and Illinois. The system will likely be a slow-mover, Solberg says.

"Rain continues to develop over the central plains and is forecast to continue to develop further east into the western Corn Belt states the next several days and over the weekend into next week," he says. "The 6-10 day forecast from several different weather models indicate that these rains should shift further east over the central and eastern Corn Belt states with the best chances in the northern sections of these states, particularly for Illinois."

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Though conditions are worst in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, other farmers say though things look better on their acres now, it's going to be easy to fall into a drought without much rain in the near future.

"I think drought is sneaking up on me and many others," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk contributor soilsurvey. "It's too early for it to be this dry and hot. For those people who have received beneficial rains, good for you and I hope the weather straightens out soon for the rest of us."

Adds Marketing Talk senior contributor Blacksandfarmer, who farms in southern Michigan, one of the driest parts of the Corn Belt: "We are dangerously close to losing this crop here. I would give it 2 weeks without some rain before it gets zeroed out. Its just been so hot and dry coupled with the unusually strong winds this year."

So, will the rain over the next few days be enough to help farmers Blacksandfarmer? Drought stress will definitely be trimmed in the short term, but a return to hot, dry weather after the expected rains could bring back that stress fairly quickly, according to Tuesday's Commodity Weather Group (CWG) daily weather report. And, it's a bad time for drought stress to flare up, with the corn crop in many areas not far from entering pollination.

"Rains expand across much of the Corn Belt by the middle of next week. This will be most likely to short-change the southern Ohio Valley, but the driest areas could be limited to 1/4 or less of the Corn Belt by the end of the 10-day period. This may be narrowed further by showers in Ohio/Indiana/Michigan in the 11-15 day, with southern Illinois, southwestern Indiana, and the northern Delta at most risk for persisting or rebuilding moisture stress," according to CWG. "Heat is limited to upper 80s to mid 90s from Friday through Monday in the Corn Belt, with all but the southern and western Plains and Delta now trending quite a bit cooler for the rest of the forecast period. This would help to limit stress to the driest areas for early pollinating corn."


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