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Late Planting Expected for Midwest Farmers

With April commencing, farmers in the Midwest are anxious for #plant18, but meteorologist Dale Mohler says not to get excited just yet.

“The Corn Belt is going to stay in a chilly pattern, and I don’t think it will change very quickly,” says Mohler. “With soil temps lagging behind, farmers are going to see a later start in the fields.”

Soil temperatures near 50°F. or higher is key to getting in the field and having successful germination. With cold temps and continued rainfall, warming of soil temperatures will be a slow process this spring for most of the Midwest.

“Starting next week, rain and cold temperatures will be persistent throughout the upper Midwest with day time temperatures reaching the mid 50’s and lows in the upper 30s,” says Moher. This will still be too low for soil temperatures to reach the 50s.

Next week, areas throughout the western Corn Belt will see measurable rainfall up to 1 or 2 inches. The first two weeks of April may cause corn planting to fall behind for central areas in the Belt including western Iowa, Nebraska, northern Missouri, and eastern Illinois.

When mid-April hits, Mohler says he sees temperatures getting steadily warmer, helping to work the deep freeze out of the ground.

“April 15 is when we will really see temperatures warming up that will be more ideal for planting,” says Mohler. “Temps look to be near or above normal in the southern part of the Belt with less rain helping soil temps to warm up nicely.”

Areas throughout the mid-Mississippi Valley, southeastern Missouri, eastern Kentucky, and into southern Illinois have had a successful start to the corn planting season this week.

May Forecast

“Farmers in the upper Midwest will have nagging cool temperatures into May,” says Mohler. The southern Belt should see average to above average temps throughout May with uniform rainfall.

Areas across the central Midwest will see normal to above normal rainfall that Mohler says could slow down planting at times with heavy storms. However, there will be windows of dry time farmers in these areas can hit to get crops in.

“The High Plains will be the big dry area going into May, especially in the Dakotas,” says Mohler. “Most of the storms the central Midwest will see will be forming around the Omaha area, moving on eastward so the High Plains won’t see much measurable rainfall.” Mohler says the low rainfall won’t be enough for concern but should be closely watched.

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