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Planting heats up in eastern and central Corn Belt

Northern Corn Belt side-lined by severe storms and soggy conditions

The second week of May was an early season scorcher for much of the central and western Corn Belt. Temperatures topped out in the 90s for several days helping to make this the hottest second week of May in 30+ years for the Corn Belt as a whole, according to data from WeatherTrends360

This was the sixth driest second week of May in 30+ years for the Corn Belt as parts of the region received a much-needed break from the cool and wet conditions so far this spring. Through May 8, 2022, corn planting was significantly behind both last year and the five-year average. However, with warmer and drier weather through the past week, there is expected to be a surge in acres of corn planted for much of the Corn Belt, especially central and eastern areas. 

While much of the region enjoyed warmer and drier weather, the northern Plains and Upper Midwest were the exception. Several days of showers and thunderstorms, some of which were severe, will have further delayed planting across this region. This is bad news, especially for states like Minnesota, which was only 9% planted through May 8 compared to last year’s 81% planted, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Progress in the week-ending May 14 will likely have been minimal due to wetter weather in the Upper Midwest and northern Plains.

Last week’s rainfall did little to help the river flooding situation across parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota where several rivers, including the Red River, remain in major flood stage. This flooding extends up into the southern portion of Canada’s Manitoba province.

Looking ahead, the weather pattern becomes more transient in the week-ending May 21 compared to last week’s stagnant pattern which brought mainly hot and dry weather to the central and eastern Corn Belt and several days of showers and storms to northern areas. This means that there will be sporadic chances of rain and planting activities will need to be done between the rain drops. The chance for showers and storms will be a little more spread out than last week, however, the heaviest precipitation is once again expected in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

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Temperatures will not be as hot as the second week of May, but the third week will trend near the sixth warmest in 30+ years for the Corn Belt. While not a cold week overall, there is the possibility of a frost or freeze in the northern Plains and extreme Upper Midwest late in the week.



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