The weekly state crop reports show increasing stress to the wheat crop in the Southern Plains due to recent hot, dry and windy conditions. Topsoil moisture is decreasing. Crop development is running ahead of normal, which can be indicative of stress. However, with some beneficial rains in Oklahoma and southern Kansas during the past 48 hours and prospects for heavy rains across the region this upcoming weekend, we would expect to see a marked improvement in soil moisture and crop conditions by the April 25th report. This rain will be coming just prior to the onset of the crop going into the critical heading stage of development. Reports indicate mostly favorable conditions for the soft wheat crop in the eastern Midwest and Delta states, except for some spots that are too wet with some ponding being reported in Indiana.
Regarding corn: Due to recent drier conditions, corn planting is running ahead of normal in the Southern Plains and Missouri. Early planting has been delayed in the eastern Midwest due to a cool and wet pattern. The forecast this week is much different. A turn to warmer and drier weather offers an improvement in planting conditions. In the Delta, planting progress is variable, with some states ahead of normal and some behind. Still, there are no concerns for corn at this time. Soybean planting is also underway in the Delta.
Spring wheat planting is underway in the northern Plains. Planting is running ahead of normal in Montana where it has been dry. Planting progress is a little behind normal in Minnesota where it has been cool and unsettled.
With the potential for drought-breaking rains in the southern Plains this coming weekend, it appears that overall conditions for planting and developing crops could be quite favorable across the central U.S. this spring.
© Copyright 2016 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.