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Warm weather outlook supports early planting

John Walter 03/23/2012 @ 11:59am

A warm weather pattern in large parts of the country will continue to support early planting prospects, though above-normal precipitation in the majority of the U.S. could cause farmers to tap the brakes a bit, according to new forecasts released Friday.

The National Weather Service 6- to 10-day outlook for March 28 – April 1 calls for a continuation of warmer-than normal weather for much of the nation. The exceptions are New England, parts of Florida and Texas, and the Pacific Coast, where near- to below-normal temps are expected.

Near- to above-normal precipitation is expected in the majority of the U.S., according to Brad Rippey, USDA agricultural meteorologist. Drier-than-normal conditions are seen across the High Plains and the Southeast, he says.

TRENDING WARMER

In a longer view, the latest latest 16- 30-day temperature outlook is trending warmer across the Prairies, and remains warm across the central Plains, Midwest, Delta, and Southeast, according to MDA EarthSat Weather.

The precipitation outlook is trending "a bit drier in the central and eastern Midwest, and remains dry in the northern Delta and Southeast," says Donald Keeney, MDA EarthSat meteorologist.

"The drier pattern will benefit planting, but will allow moisture to decline a bit once again." Keeney said.

His 16- 30-day precipitation outlook sees wetter conditions across the southern and central Plains, but trending "a bit drier" in the northern Plains and central Prairies.

PLANTING IN THE DUST

Areas of the Corn Belt are starting to register concern about dry conditions.

"Some locations in the northwestern Midwest have had around normal precip so far for the month of March, but in other areas amounts are running well below normal," Freese-Notis Weather reported Friday.

"Norfolk, NE, Mitchell, SD, and Sioux City, IA have all had less than half the normal precip for March so far," said Craig Solberg, Freese-Notis meteorologist. 

"The next chance for some rain in the northwestern Midwest will be about early next week, but only 0.10 to 0.50 inch amounts are expected in most areas at this time," he said.

"For the 6-10 day period below normal precip is forecast in these areas, so many locations will begin April still needing significant rainfall."

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