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Weather/markets: Cool temps prevail

High temperatures yesterday across a lot of the Midwest were anywhere from 10 to as much as 20 degrees below normal, and we are going to see a lot more of that as temperatures will be just as cold right through about Wednesday of next week. Maybe that will be the worst of the cold (with respect to normal) for the next two weeks, but there are solid indications that temperatures over a lot of the eastern United States will continue to average below normal through the first full week of April.

What a difference a year makes with regards to temperatures! The end of March and the beginning of April last year was a very warm time frame for the Midwest. Take Des Moines, for example. That location ended March last year with two straight days of highs in the upper 70s, and during the first full week of April had highs as warm as 86 degrees...not once, but twice! It was that warmth that was already prompting some Iowa farmers to plant their first corn fields already by April 4, and it marked the start of a fantastic month of April for planting (that led to a national corn planting pace of 68 percent done by May 2, the fastest pace ever recorded).

Rest assured that there will NOT be any corn planted in Iowa this year before April 4, given the temperature outlook! Snow is going to be seen in Iowa and nearby areas as well, with some of that falling already this morning but suggestions of a more significant and widespread snow event for the Midwest centered for about next Tuesday.

Winter wheat needs moisture

It still looks like some moisture is going to be falling over the next week in the hard-red winter wheat belt of the Plains, but still nothing close to the optimistic precipitation outlook that was in the forecast from this past Wednesday.

It looks like normal amounts of precipitation at best, and that is not enough to provide any sort of meaningful drought relief. Likely the wettest part of the Nation over the next ten days will be the Delta and Southeast, where considerable rain will fall over the next five days and also for the 6-10 day time frame; all of it quite welcome for an area that still has long-term drought problems.

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