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Warmer temps on the way will promote crop emergence

This week brought “some good and some bad” weather to the Corn Belt, says Dennis Todey, USDA Midwest Climate Hub director. More rain fell this week across many Corn Belt states. Parts of Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin all recorded more than 2 inches of rain since May 25.

According to the May 26 U.S. Drought Monitor Map, parts of southern Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, and northern Minnesota were abnormally dry. The western half of North Dakota was reported abnormally dry, while a large portion of the southwestern part of the state was in moderate drought. Western Kansas also had areas of drought ranging in intensity up to short-term extreme drought.

In Iowa, “Farmers were wanting some rain,” explains Justin Glisan, state climatologist. A change in weather patterns over the Memorial Day weekend brought more than 5 inches of precipitation to some parts of the state in the last week.

Photo Credit: Justin Glisan

In north-central Iowa some ponding of fields has been reported, but Glisan expects that temperatures in the upper 80s and some 90s over the next week will dry fields out quickly.

Todey says replant may be necessary in parts of the eastern Corn Belt including areas of Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio because of heavier rainfall.

Average temperatures were below normal in the Plains states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas by as much as 8°F. over the last week. Moving east, temperatures increased to above average, reaching more than 17°F. above normal in parts of Michigan over the last week.

Midwest temperature departure map
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

“Last week’s temperatures of 4°F. to 8°F. above average is good for stacking up growing degree days,” Glisan explains. These conditions are ideal for emerging corn. Todey says next week’s additional heat will promote more emergence. Except for some isolated areas, soils generally have enough moisture that warmer temperatures won’t stress corn and soybean crops, he says.

There are minor chances of rain ahead for Iowa farmers, especially south of Des Moines over the weekend. Most of the Corn Belt will have clear skies Saturday and Sunday.

Meteorologist Kyle Tapley of Maxar says much drier weather is expected across the Plains over the next seven to 10 days, with virtually no rainfall expected across western portions of the hard red winter wheat belt. Next week temperatures will also be increasing across the region.

“Hot and dry weather will stress late development of the winter wheat crop across northwestern portions of the belt, including western Kansas, eastern Colorado, and southwestern Nebraska. “Dry weather in southwestern areas will favor maturation of the wheat crop,” Tapley explains.

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