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More Rain Will Slow Down Planting Into May

Corn planting is up five percentage points from the five-year average, according to the USDA’s Crop Progress Report released earlier this week. However, that small planting lead may not last long, according to Dan Hicks of Freese-Notis Weather.

“Rains will return later this weekend into early next week,” he says. “The overall pattern for the next 10 days in the Corn Belt should bring near- to above-normal rainfall with brief dry periods. This will likely slow planting and fieldwork into early May, and planting won’t progress as fast as it has the past 10 days.”

Here’s a look at the short-term forecast by state, according to the National Weather Service:

  • Illinois: Clear through the weekend with a 30% chance of showers Sunday night. Possible precipitation on Monday and Tuesday with showers likely on Wednesday.
  • Indiana: Sunny skies over the weekend. Monday through Thursday, there’s a 30% to 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms.
  • Iowa: Chance of rain Saturday night moving into Sunday. Showers and thunderstorms likely Sunday night. Clear again till Tuesday night when more showers are predicted.
  • Minnesota: There’s a 30% chance of precipitation Saturday afternoon. Rain is likely for Saturday night through Sunday night. There’s a chance that rain will continue into Monday before it breaks for sunny skies on Tuesday. More precipitation is possible on Wednesday into Thursday.
  • Missouri: Sunny until Sunday night when there’s a 40% chance of showers. Possible precipitation through Tuesday, with showers likely Tuesday night. Wednesday could also be rainy, although the forecast is clear for Thursday.
  • Nebraska: Sunny skies on Saturday have a 20% chance of turning into showers and thunderstorms Saturday night into Sunday. Monday looks clear before showers return that evening and may remain until Thursday. 

What about the growing season?

There will be a fairly active weather pattern that will stretch from central states into the eastern part of the nation into the first part of May, according to Hicks.

“Our summer outlook is for temperatures in the Midwest to average a few degrees above normal and for rainfall to average near to below normal,” he continues. “It’s too early to tell if this trend will result in major negative effects on crops in the Midwest.”

What about El Niño?

“It does look like we will transition from El Niño to neutral conditions in the Tropical Pacific later this spring, then likely to a weak La Niña this summer,” says Hicks. “However, it is too early to determine when or if significant effects from La Niña could be felt in the U.S.”

La Niña typically brings hot and dry summer weather, although there isn’t a 100% correlation and a weak La Niña doesn’t necessarily have the same effect as a strong one.

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