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Planting Windows Open Up, Nearing End of #Plant17

Despite the rain that will move in this weekend, farmers should make good progress in finishing up #plant17 between this week’s and next week’s dry spells.

There has been good planting weather across the majority of the Midwest this week, which will linger in the eastern part of the Midwest tomorrow. This was particularly critical in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio where corn and soybean planting are dragging behind the five-year average, according to this week’s USDA Crop Progress report.

“By the time the weekend rain slows things down in those states, I think we’ll see a pretty substantial jump in the amount of corn and soybean planting done,” says Dan Hicks, meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather.

The rain will start today in the southwest Midwest and will gradually increase with scattered thunderstorms as the system moves into the central Midwest tomorrow, says Hicks. “The greatest coverage and amount of rain will occur Friday night through Sunday in eastern Wisconsin, eastern Illinois, and into Indiana, bringing four-tenths of an inch to 1.25 inches.”

In the western Midwest, the rain will be spottier and bring only one-tenth of an inch to three-quarters, he adds. “With that type of precipitation forecast, there may be some places in the western Midwest that never get kicked out of planting by rain because it may not be heavy enough to really get things wet,” explains Hicks.

Starting on Sunday in the west and moving east, all of the Midwest has three or four dry days to kickoff next week. “It might take a few days to dry out, but planting conditions will improve once this system moves by,” says Hicks.

Is the cold weather done?

Cool periods in the northern and central Midwest may have slowed down germination and slowed development this spring. “Even this week, there were quite a few nights that dropped into the 40s,” says Hicks.

The good news is the weather is warming up through the weekend. The bad news is below normal temperatures will return early next week to the northern half of the Midwest. “There are going to be some nights that are unfavorably cool,” says Hicks.

What does the rest of June hold in store for this year’s crops?

Despite all of the negative aspects of the planting season, Hicks optimistically says things look pretty good for June. “It isn’t all rosy, as there are some unfavorably cool days, but I can’t find a lot of negative things about the weather.”

Will the northern Plains get rain?

While other parts of the country have struggled with too much precipitation this spring, the Dakotas, northwest Minnesota, and eastern Montana have had fairly dry conditions for planting. As of this week’s report, all four states are ahead of the five-year average for both corn and soybean planting.

Unfortunately, the area is now in need of rain. According to the U.S. drought monitor, this area is rated as abnormally dry (in yellow below) to moderate drought (in tan).

“Now that planting is close to done, the attention will turn to the drying of soil and the increasing need for rain,” says Hicks. “I don’t see a lot of rain there in the next week to 10 days. This will be a place to watch as we move further into June.”

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