Ag Weather Forum

Welcome Late-Winter Drier Trend

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Mostly less than 50% of normal precipitation in the past 30 days over the northern and Western Corn Belt has allowed some easing of wet soil conditions. (HPRCC graphic)

A welcome drier weather pattern is in the forecast for the entire Midwest during the next seven to 10 days. A southward shift and weakening of the main storm track are expected to bring about an extended period of limited precipitation to the entire Midwest during the next seven to 10 days.

This forecast adds to recent drying that has been noted over the past 30 days. Whether this pattern can extend beyond the next seven to 10 days is uncertain at this time. Drier weather along with near to above normal temperatures should allow some pre-planting fieldwork to occur along with some remaining corn harvest in Minnesota and North Dakota.

Precipitation remains quite limited over western portions of the Southern Plains winter wheat belt. Precipitation is expected to remain limited during the next seven to 10 days along with episodes of above to much above normal temperatures. This will bring the crop out of dormancy. More precipitation will be needed to support the crop during the spring as it moves into the critical heading stage of development.

In South America, we may be seeing the beginning of the end of the summer rainy season in central Brazil. The outlook calls for dry conditions or just a few light showers with locally heavier amounts during the next seven days. At this time, soil moisture conditions are adequate for second-crop corn, which is nearly all planted in Mato Grosso. In Parana where corn planting is only about 50% complete, this could become a problem if it continues. Dry weather in Rio Grande do Sul for at least the next seven days could stress late-filling soybeans.

Argentina's recent turn to hot and dry weather is expected to continue for at least the next seven days. This will deplete soil moisture and increase stress on filling corn and soybeans. This situation bears close watching as main crop soybeans are filling through March, with double-cropped soybeans filling through April.

Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean for the month of February was plus 0.6 degree Celsius above average. This was up from the 0.4 degree C above normal observed during the month of January and halts the downward trend that was observed between December and January.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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