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Some planters roll; weather worries persist

Finally, some wheels are turning.

Farmers in the western Corn Belt are taking Friday to finally get into the field and get some corn planted.

The driest part of the Corn Belt over the past 7 days has been the western third of Iowa, the western third of Minnesota, extreme northwestern Missouri, and points eastward and that is an area where some corn is being planted right now," says Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist Craig Solberg. "Despite overall cool conditions on average in that area for probably the next 2 weeks, corn will continue to be planted in that area over the next week as the weather does not look wet enough in that area to create big work stoppages."

And, in addition to drying out, soil temperatures are finally in the right range for planting in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, climbing above the critical juncture of 50 degrees Fahrenheit into southwest Iowa, according to to Iowa State University (ISU) Extension climatologist Elwynn Taylor.

"We will get some corn in today," says Vendago, Nebraska, farmer Steve Tucker. "But, cold and wet in the forecast for the weekend."

Elsewhere in the nation's midsection, the forecast looks like the rain will be off-and-on for the next 2 weeks, Solberg says. It will allow some planting progress through the first week to 10 days of May, but a predominantly wet weather pattern will settle in over the Corn Belt and Delta regions after that.

"Some thunderstorms are possible there for tonight and there may be a little more rain for the middle of next week, but it all looks pretty scattered and for the most part not heavy. We may eventually get a little corn planted in central and southeastern Iowa, northern Missouri, and northwestern Illinois as well as those are other places that have not seen too much rain over the past week, but those areas will also be dealing with cool temps on average and a couple rain threats," Solberg says. "Eventually I do think that a wetter pattern will again encompass a bigger part of the Midwest and the Delta for the week of May 10. Clearly we are going to be getting some corn in the ground in the near term, and that is being used as much of the excuse for the big break in corn values yesterday. However, I still think that planting issues are going to be a problem in May, so this weather market is far from over!"

Until then, farmers like Marketing Talk member Mizzou_Tiger are going to do what they can to get their crop planted while they have even the slightest planting window. But, he's not planning on too much progress as of yet.

"Looks like we are in for one day of sun followed by 2 days of rain, then 3 days of sun, then more rain," Mizzou_Tiger said Thursday. "Going to be hard to get in and do much if this weekends rain pans out. Might be able to run by Monday afternoon IF we miss the weekend rain, however that will be a challange and it will at best be cloudy all weekend. We need heat and sun bad."

Talk: Plant or 'take a week vacation somewhere and don't think about planting?'

Looking ahead, the National Weather Service (NWS) shows, in its 6- to 10-day forecast, below-normal temperatures for most of the Corn Belt, with eastern Nebraska, western Iowa and western Nebraska the only areas where normal seasonal temperatures will dominate. Precipitation-wise, Nebraska and western Iowa will see below-normal rainfall while the rest of Iowa, central Missouri and western Illinois will see normal amounts. The rest of the Corn Belt will likely return to a wetter pattern, according to NWS data.

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