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Winter wheat growers still on hold for rain

Some scattered rains shown on the radar this morning in parts of Kansas illustrate the next rainfall threat for the hard-red winter wheat belt, one that will last through tomorrow (with the best chances coming for tonight).

Most of the rain will be for Interstate 70 and points southward, with coverage a long ways from 100 percent and amounts mostly under a half inch. There may be a narrow strip in especially Oklahoma though that does see some 0.50 to 1.00 totals. It is all welcome rain, but does not do much to put even a dent in the drought and the weather after tomorrow is looking decidedly dry in that area once again (through at least early October).

The next 30 days is when the bulk of the winter wheat crop in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas gets planted but I really wonder how that is going to happen. Even with recent rains, so much of the area is still so very dry that there is just not enough moisture in the ground to get anything germinated. Farmers in that area are going to face two choices in the near term.

One, hold off on planting now in hopes that better rains fall before the normal end of the planting season. Two, plant the crop in current dry soils in hopes that rain eventually falls in enough quantity to get the seeds germinated. My guess is that most will go with option number two, but one can already note in this week's progress numbers that the planting pace is starting to run behind the five- year average.

 In the Midwest, we will see harvesting really expand in areas west of Interstate 35 coming up with completely dry weather there the next five days.

Rains will not be big east of there, but an upper level low will keep conditions cool, cloudy, and somewhat damp in eastern areas of the Midwest through early next week before even that area dries out later next week. Overall we are looking at very limited rainfall totals through the center third of the Nation right through the opening days of October.

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

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