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Growing Degree Days Keeping Up Despite Cool, Damp Weather -- USDA

Though Monday's USDA Crop Progress report showed another big week of planting progress, it certainly wasn't a dry week, with anywhere from .5 inch to 2 inches of rain falling through the Corn Belt and heavier amounts up to 4 inches in the Dakotas and northern Corn Belt, according to Tuesday's USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin.

"Weekly rainfall amounts of 2 to 4 inches or more were common from the upper Midwest to Texas. Totals in excess of 4 inches were widespread from southern Texas into the mid-South and southeastern Plains. Meanwhile, cool, wet weather in the upper Midwest contrasted with warm conditions in the Ohio Valley. In the eastern Corn Belt, planting proceeded between occasional showers. In the upper Midwest, cool, rainy weather provided much-needed moisture, following a period of rapid planting, but slowed corn and soybean emergence and development. In fact, below-normal temperatures dominated areas from California to the Plains and upper Midwest," according to Tuesday's report.

"Early in the week, freezes were noted as far south as the central High Plains, possibly threatening the portion of the winter wheat that had begun to head. Farther east, however, temperatures above 90°F. were commonly observed in the Southeast. Elsewhere, broadly unsettled weather prevailed in the West, with the heaviest precipitation falling across the northern Intermountain region. The Western showers boosted topsoil moisture, aided winter grains, and reduced irrigation requirements. Beneficial precipitation dampened parts of California, but failed to dent the far West’s serious hydrological drought."

Despite the recent cool, wet system -- fueled by a continued move toward a "moderate" El Niño -- that's dominated the bulk of the nation's center in the last couple of weeks, much of the Plains and Corn Belt remain ahead of the normal pace for growing degree days (GDDs), with pockets of the central and northern Plains 200+ GDDs ahead of normal, Tuesday's report shows.


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