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Some Weekend 'Fieldwork Chances' as Corn Belt Rain Continues

After a week featuring off-and-on rainfall -- in many spots in the Midwest enough to keep planters and sprayers parked at the field's edge -- it looks like the moisture's going to continue through much of the weekend, allowing a few chances for fieldwork to resume but keeping up the wet trend of the last couple of weeks for the region. And, that's not the best news in the world for farmers with corn and soybeans left to plant.

"Temperatures will be below normal, except near to above normal southeast. Rainfall will be mostly above normal, except closer to normal northwest. Showers/storms will persist in western areas tonight, in most areas except more scattered east Friday, in central/eastern areas Saturday, and in southeastern areas Sunday. Most areas will remain dry Monday and Tuesday, with a chance of showers in northwestern and southeastern areas," Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist Matthew Christy says of the outlook for the Midwest through the weekend and into next week. "Five-day rainfall totals will be mainly .5-1.5 inches, with the highest amounts southeast. Western areas will have fieldwork chances Saturday, and many areas will Sunday to Tuesday. Highs will reach mainly the 60s to 80s Friday, upper 50s to low 80s Saturday, upper 50s to low 70s Sunday, 60s and 70s Monday, and 70s and 80s Tuesday."

The wet forecast isn't all bad news; some farmers in the eastern Corn Belt are on the opposite end of the moisture spectrum from most in the remainder of the region; they're getting dry, and though planters have rolled much more smoothly in that part of the country, the rain deficit is growing. The weekend forecast should help with that, says MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Kyle Tapley.

"While most of the central U.S., especially the Plains, has seen above normal rainfall over the past several weeks, the eastern Midwest has actual-ly seen below normal rainfall. Across most of southeastern Illinois, Indiana, southern Michigan, Ohio, and eastern Kentucky rainfall has generally ranged from 50-75% of normal over the past 45 days. The dryness may be causing some minor stress to early growth of the corn crop, especially in southern Indiana and Ohio, but is not yet causing any significant issues," he says. "Some improvement will occur in these areas through the weekend as rain favors the southern Midwest and Delta, reducing any minor crop stress."

Looking farther down the road, fellow MDA senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney says the next week's mostly wet, cool forecast for the Corn Belt will likely continue. Though just a portion of the Corn Belt -- the northwestern area -- is expected to see continued above-normal moisture, the mercury's not going to run too much higher than normal, and that's likely to limit heat stress on the young corn and soybean crops through about late June.

"Near to slightly below-normal temperatures in the Midwest will maintain low heat threats for corn and soybeans as well. The precipitation outlook has trended drier across the western Plains, and wetter in the northwestern Midwest," Keeney says. "The drier trend in the central and southwestern Plains will favor winter wheat drydown and early harvesting. Rains in the Delta, and southeastern and northern Midwest will maintain favorable moisture for corn and soybean growth. Moisture will decline a bit in the west central Midwest, although no major stress is expected."

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