April weather: Call it the Corn Belt coaster ride

Hopes of accelerated early planting squashed by cold, snow mid-Month.

The weather in April 2021 was transitional across the Corn Belt. Summer-like heat near the start of the month increased hopes of early planting progress, however, a swing to much colder temperatures by mid-April, including frosts, freezes, and snow, dampened those hopes. Conditions improved in the final week of the month as temperatures warmed. An overall dry month for the Corn Belt provided plenty of opportunities for fieldwork but expanded drought conditions.

For the Corn Belt as a whole, April 2021 was the warmest April in 4 years and the 9th warmest in 30+ years according to data from WeatherTrends360. The first half of April featured widespread warmer than normal temperatures in the Corn Belt, but the second half was colder than normal. Freezing temperatures and snowfall around the 19th to the 25th of April forced some farmers to pause planting activities as soil temperatures plummeted. Warmer weather returned in the final week of the month.

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As for precipitation, WeatherTrends360 reports this was the 4th driest April in 30+ years for the Corn Belt. Drier weather was favorable for getting fieldwork and planting done, however, dryness also allowed for expansion of drought in portions of the Corn Belt. During April 2021, abnormally dry conditions expanded across Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana. Drought conditions spread in Michigan, and North Dakota saw extreme drought expand from 70% of the state early in April to 83% by the end of the month. Outside of the Dakotas, dryness wasn’t much of an issue for planting but is certainly something to watch as we proceed through the growing season.

As we head into the first week of May 2021, the eastern Corn Belt will see wetter than normal conditions though the week-ending May 9th. Unfortunately, the drought-stricken areas of the Dakotas, Nebraska and portions of Iowa will see the month of May begin with more rainfall deficits.

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