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Weather window shrinks again in key farm states

05/16/2011 @ 1:22pm

For a lot of the Midwest it was simply a miserable weekend, with rainfall and cold temperatures dominating the weather. Weekend rainfall totals of more than a half inch were common for eastern Iowa, eastern Missouri, and much of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, and it was not hard to find places with more than an inch. Probably hardest hit was Michigan, where several places are coming in this morning with 72-hour rainfall totals of more than two inches.

 Compounding matters was high temperatures that ran 20 or more degrees below normal, equating to highs that did not get out of the 40s for some places. We are catching a bit of a break on this Monday with most of the region dry, but Ohio will still see some light rains today and those rains will be "backing up" westward into Indiana and Michigan for tomorrow right through at least Thursday.

 In the western Corn Belt, we will see rains develop on Wednesday for areas west of the Missouri River but those rains will be very slow to move east, probably just reaching the Interstate 35 corridor by late on Friday. Thus, between the area of rain in the east and the area of rain in the west, we are looking at an area of largely dry weather in between in the Midwest for much of eastern Iowa, northeastern Missouri, northwestern Illinois, eastern Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

That dryness will not last long though, as the storm in the west will be moving eastward early next weekend and will be followed by another storm early next week, so the 6-10 day time frame is looking wet in the Midwest (as well as in the northern Plains and the Delta). One has to stay pessimistic about rainfall chances for southwestern Kansas southward through the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma over the next ten days, but the rest of the hard-red winter wheat belt will see nice rains both over the next five days and in the 6-10 day time frame.

Put the national corn planting pace this week at 60 percent done, with the national soybean planting pace at 21 percent. My biggest concerns with regards to getting fieldwork done over the next ten days would be Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and South Dakota, areas where there is still a lot of corn left to plant but areas that are not going to see much dry weather over the next ten days.

My concern level for Minnesota and North Dakota would be just slightly less, given that the main corn areas of those states will see some dry weather through Thursday or even Friday. I think that spring wheat planting progress is a big problem, especially in the western Dakotas and Montana where it is very wet right now and more big rains will fall (both this week and in the 6-10 day time frame).

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