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Corn planting and emergence to resume as warmer weather arrives

Soil temperatures on the rise as cold and snowy weather gives way to warmth in late April.

Cold, and even snowy, conditions in the week-ending April 25 brought planting activities to a halt in the Corn Belt. As we look to the end of April and beginning of May, temperatures will turn warmer, although farmers in the eastern Corn Belt may be dodging rain drops at times to get work done.

According to data from WeatherTrends360, the third week of April, (week-ending April 25), was the coldest and snowiest third week of April for the Corn Belt in more than 30 years. Snow fell from the northern Plains, as far south as northwestern Arkansas, and up into interior New England. Soil temperatures, which had warmed nicely early in April, plunged slowing down germination for planted seeds. As warmer weather arrives to close out April and begin May 2021, germination should get back on track but wetter weather in the eastern Corn Belt may cause planting delays.


Temperatures are expected to waffle from above to below normal as we end April and begin May, but should remain warmer than the spell of cold weather in the third week of April. Widespread frosts and freezes will be less likely, although not impossible especially in the northern Plains. A brief spurt of summerlike temperatures early in the period will give way to temperatures that are closer to reality, or normal, for this time of year. Growing degree days will accumulate quickly as May begins. While warmer temperatures will be favorable for germination, the seed has to get in the ground first before it can germinate and precipitation may cause some delays in the week ahead for the eastern Corn Belt.

Unfortunately, appreciable rainfall looks to evade the western Corn Belt, particularly North Dakota where a majority of the state is in drought. Meanwhile, eastern portions of the Corn Belt are more likely to see above-normal precipitation in the final week of April. Farmers will have to dodge rain drops to get seed in the ground. While dryness in the western Corn Belt may seem favorable for fieldwork and planting, a lack of soil moisture may have farmers thinking twice before getting any early planting done.



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