Ag Weather Forum

Moisture Improves in U.S., Break from Rain Coming in Argentina

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The seven-day precipitation forecast for the Delta and southeastern U.S. show improving soil moisture levels heading into spring planting. (NOAA graphic)

One of the more significant rain/ice events in the Southern Plains during mid-January in many years will go a long way in recharging soil moisture for the wheat crop when it breaks dormancy in the spring. This precipitation will help to offset the effects of dry weather this fall and cold weather this winter.

Above- to much-above-normal temperatures are expected in the Midwest and Northern Plains during the next six-to-10 days. Due to the mild weather, no major snowstorms are indicated at this time. However, there are indications of a turn to much colder weather late this month or in early February.

Wet weather in the Delta and Southeast U.S. continues to improve soil moisture levels heading into spring planting following drought conditions this fall.

Weather conditions generally remain quite favorable for soybeans in Brazil. Soil moisture conditions are adequate for developing and filling soybeans in all areas except the minor growing areas in the far northeast (Bahia) where hot, dry weather persists with some losses likely. There are some disruptions to the harvest in central Brazil, due to locally heavy rain, but no major concerns.

The major corn and soybean areas of central Argentina have continued to be affected by some heavy rain and flooding. Much of the crop has been planted, but some acreage may have to be replanted due to flooding. The good news is it finally looks like a break in the wet weather has arrived with mostly dry conditions and above-normal temperatures expected during the next seven days. Double-cropped soybean areas in southern Buenos Aires have missed out on much of this rain and are unfavorably dry. Some reductions in double-cropped acreage can be expected.

Finally, our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the equatorial eastern pacific for the first half of January 2017 was plus 0.4. This is up from the plus 0.2 departure observed during the month of December 2016. With all of the precipitation on the west coast and the wet weather in central Argentina the weather patterns are already displaying some EL Nino characteristics. It would not be out of the question for this warming to continue with the possibility of El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean by this spring.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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