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Mapping Out the Wet, Cold #Plant19

To the dismay of farmers around the country, machinery has been parked for much of the 2019 planting season. Recent USDA Crop Progress Reports have shown corn and soybean planting progress is sharply behind the five-year average.

The most recent report, on Monday, pegged U.S. corn planting at 30% complete. The five-year average is 66%.

U.S. soybean planting is struggling to get started. Just 9% of the soybean crop has been planted compared with the five-year average of 29%.

Here’s a deeper look at the cold and wet conditions that have slowed planting progress around the region.

The entire Midwest has had above-average rainfall since April 15. The Iowa Mesonet maps below show departure from average precipitation from 1951 to 2018 for each state.


Parts of Iowa are as much as 2.07 inches below average rainfall for the planting season. However, Henry county and surrounding area in the southeast part of the state recorded 4.28 inches of rain above average between April 15 and May 14, 2019.

Map of Iowa precipitation departure from average
Iowa Mesonet

That raises the question, how much rain has the state had this year? According to data from the Iowa Mesonet, Wright County leads the state with 21.96 inches of precipitation so far in 2019. While the annual precipitation average varies throughout the state, overall Iowa’s average annual rainfall is 35.67 inches.

Iowa Mesonet

In addition to ample precipitation, the state has had a cool spring. For 2019, growing degree days (GDDs) significantly trail the number of GDDs the state typically has by this point in the season. As of May 15, only Davis County, in southeast Iowa, had 100% of average GDDs this season.

Iowa Mesonet


Based on the maps, Illinois is in worse shape than Iowa. Only 11% of the state’s corn crop has been planted compared with 88% this time last year.

Almost the entire state is blue indicating above-average rainfall this spring. Southwest Illinois has recieved as much as 6.06 inches of rain above average.

Iowa Mesonet

How much precipitation has Illinois had in total? Southern Illinois has recorded 30.99 inches just this year. The average annual precipitation for the state is 39.04 inches.

Iowa Mesonet

The last month has been cool in Illinois as well. Southern Illinois has had more GDDs than the northern region of the state, but still remains behind the average GDDs for this point in the season.

Iowa Mesonet


All of Indiana has had above-average precipitation this planting season. Farmers in the state are struggling to get crops in the ground. Just 6% of the corn crop has been planted compared with 69% last year and a five-year average of 57%.

Iowa Mesonet

Precipitation totals for 2019 get heavier moving from north to south throughout Indiana. The south-central part of the state has recorded 29.11 inches of precipitation so far this year. The average precipitation for the state overall is 40.62 inches.

Iowa Mesonet

Like Illinois, southern Indiana has had more GDDs than the northern half of the state, but all of Indiana lags behind the average GDDs for this time of year.

Iowa Mesonet


Continuing east across the Corn Belt, Ohio has also had above-average precipitation this planting season. In the last month, north-central Ohio has recieved 5.13 inches of rain above average. The wet weather has significantly delayed planting. Only 4% of the corn crop has been planted in Ohio this year. Last year 50% of the corn crop was in the ground by now. The five-year average for this time of year is 47%.

Iowa Mesonet

Five months into 2019 and precipitation totals are in the double digits for all of Ohio. Southeast Ohio has seen the highest precipitation totals, recording 27.31 inches.

Iowa Mesonet

Compared to the “I” states, Ohio is in better shape in terms of GDDs. The eastern part of the state actually has some red on the map indicating farmers there have had more than the average GDDs. Still, the northwest corner of the state lags behind the average GDDs by as much as 40%.

Iowa Mesonet


Southern Missouri farmers especially have had much more rain than they are used to so far this spring. Shannon County and surrounding areas have reported 6.54 inches of rain above average over the last month. While Missouri farmers are further along with corn planting than their northern neighbors, they still trail last year’s pace by 37%.

Iowa Mesonet

The largest Missouri precipitation totals for 2019 are concentrated in the southeast. Butler County recorded 33.89 inches for the year, so far.

Iowa Mesonet

Only the very southern part of the state has achieved the average GDDs this spring.

Iowa Mesonet


The southern third of Minnesota has been hammered with above-average precipitation this spring. Nicollet, Le Sueur, and Sibley counties have been especially hard hit recording 5.30 inches of rain above average over the last month.

Iowa Mesonet

How much precipitation has Minnesota had in 2019? There have been 16.82 inches so far in the south-central part of the state.

Iowa Mesonet

Cool temperatures have compounded planting problems for Minnesota farmers. The wet southern portion of the state has only had 60% to 75% of average GDDs typical of this point in the season.

Iowa Mesonet


In Wisconsin, it is the northern half of the state that has experienced the most above-average precipitation this spring. Corn planting progress sits at 14% this year. The five-year average for this time is 46% planted.

Iowa Mesonet

North-central Wisconsin has recorded the most precipitation so far this year. The area has recieved a total of 16.87 inches in 2019.

Iowa Mesonet

Cold weather has been particularly challenging for Wisconsin farmers this spring. Parts of the state have barely achieved 30% of the average GDDs for this time of year.

Iowa Mesonet


Nebraska has a more colorful precipitation departure map this spring, but many areas are still facing an abundance of water as they try to plant. South-central Nebraska has had 4.76 inches of precipitation above average just in the last month.

Iowa Mesonet

Average rainfall varies widely across Nebraska, but the overall state average is 30.25. Double-digit precipitation totals for 2019 have been recorded as far west as Cherry County.

Iowa Mesonet

Like much of the Corn Belt, Nebraska also trails average GDDs.

Iowa Mesonet

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