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Big planting progress, but weather issues remain

It was a different world last week between the western Corn Belt and the eastern Corn Belt with regards to planting conditions. For a state like Iowa, it was one of their best weeks ever as farmers there put in 61 percent of this year's corn crop in just seven days, making that the second biggest week ever for that state (next to May 4-10, 1992). Lots of corn also went in the ground in Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.

Meanwhile, it was still tough to get anything done in the eastern Corn Belt, with almost no progress at all in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.

 We've also still got a lot of problems in the northern Plains as well. North Dakota is a very important corn producer, and yet that state has only 3 percent of their corn in the ground this week versus a five-year average of 35 percent. Spring wheat planting in the northern Plains is the slowest it has been since at least 1985, with 22 percent of that crop in the ground versus a five-year average of 61 percent.

 Big near-term rains in western North Dakota and eastern Montana, very cool conditions in the northern Plains for tomorrow through the end of the weekend, and a return to wet weather late in the ten-day forecast and for the 11-15 day time frame means that the weather in the northern Plains will remain a big concern.

In the Midwest, there is going to be fieldwork opportunities today and into a part of tomorrow, but for the rest of the week we will shut down fieldwork operations again as rains become widespread. Once the rain gets started in the eastern Corn Belt, a completely dry day may not be seen there again until next Tuesday. Very warm near-term weather is going to be replaced by very cool conditions for the end of the week and into early next week. Dry weather will be seen for a few days next week, but there are good signs that things will get wetter again in the 11-15 day period.

For next Monday afternoon's report, I would look for a national corn planting progress figure to be in the neighborhood of 55-59 percent done (versus 83 percent last year and a five-year average of 76 percent), which would keep this year as one of the slowest the past 15 years.

Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved

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