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Short- and long-term planting delays?

Jeff Caldwell 04/17/2013 @ 10:59am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

A look at the short-term forecast shows things are going to stay wet and cool for the next few days and through the weekend in much of the Plains and Corn Belt. A look at the longer-term outlook shows it could be just the start of a precarious season in which raising a corn crop -- let alone one close enough to trendline yield to bulk up trimmed-down domestic supplies -- could be something for which to hope, not aspire.

In the short-term, conditions will keep planters parked. In fact, it will keep planting quite a way from the realm of possibility, says Kyle Tapley, senior ag meteorologist with MDA Weather Services.

"Corn planting has not yet begun across the core of the Belt in the Midwest or the Plains, whereas last year at this time, warm and dry weather had allowed planting to begin as far north as Minnesota and the Dakotas," Tapley says. "With temperatures expected to remain well below normal and more wet weather expected this week, including snow in the northern Plains and northwestern Midwest, planting will make little progress."

Harvey Freese of Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., agrees; the wet, cool weather will block progress in the next few days, and it could also be just the beginning of a longer wet trend that may delay planting even further.

"We expect above-normal wet weather for the balance of this week, so little fieldwork is forecast in the Corn Belt. Our composite rainfall forecast for the months of April and May indicate the possibility of some areas of Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana receiving more than 2 inches of moisture above the two-month normals. This could potentially mean that some areas of the Midwest might receive close to 10 inches of rain during this 60-day period (April-May)," Freese says. "Looking at a chart of State Average Work Days in Iowa for April and May vs. April-May rainfall (provided from ISU), suggests that some areas of Iowa and surrounding states may have fewer than 25 working days during the next 45-day period."

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