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Best Window for Corn Planting Is Next Week, Say Meteorologists

If you’ve been waiting for a dry window to get into the field, make sure your planter is ready to go next week. According to meteorologists Dan Hicks, Freese-Notis Weather, and Dale Mohler, Accuweather, this looks to be the longest dry spell for the 2017 planting season.

“From Sunday through Thursday in the western Corn Belt and from Monday through Friday in the eastern half, there will be five days of dry weather,” says Mohler. “Despite the fact that the ground will be pretty wet initially from this week’s storms, this should be long enough for things to dry out so a fair amount of planting can get done.”

Hicks agrees, adding that rainfall looks to be below normal in the six- to 10-day forecast.

Unfortunately, the rest of the #plant17 forecast is a bit more bleak.

One- to Five-Day Forecast

There will be a series of rain events coming across the Midwest for the rest of this week. Starting today, thunderstorms and showers will move across Minnesota and Iowa and lift up toward the northern lakes tomorrow, according to Mohler. “A new area of rain will form in South Dakota and Nebraska tonight and head east, hitting most of the Corn Belt,” he adds. “Between those two events, most of the Belt will pick up ½- to 1-inch of rain in the next 48 hours.”

After a brief break on Friday, another storm will start in the Central Plains Friday night and head east through the weekend, which will hit the southern half of the Midwest.

“This week there will be small windows of opportunity for fieldwork, but I don’t see any major planting progress over the next four to five days,” says Hicks.

This will put corn planting progress further behind. This week’s USDA Crop Progress Report already shows that every corn state besides Indiana is behind last year’s planting pace at this point.

Outlook for May

Moving into May, the weather pattern will become more active again. “We’ll be back into a situation where there will be dry spells, but they won’t be long-lasting, and there will be enough rain to slow things down,” says Hicks. “West of the Mississippi River, the forecast shows normal to above-normal rainfall. Farther east, looks to be closer to normal rainfall. But I wouldn’t forecast below-normal rainfall for anywhere in the Midwest in May.”

With this weather pattern, Hicks estimates that corn planting as a whole will stay around the five-year average at best with some areas dropping behind the five-year average into the first half of May.

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