Ag Weather Forum

Improving Plains Rain Chances

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The seven-day precipitation forecast shows some opportunities for rain in the Plains. (Graphic courtesy of NOAA/NWS)

Hot, dry weather in the Southern Plains is having more of an impact on winter wheat crop ratings with all of the major wheat producing states showing a decline during the past week. Crop development is increasing with 38% of the acreage now jointing in Oklahoma and 10% in Kansas. The driest area in the winter wheat belt remain in western Kansas with 84 to 91% of the region rated as short to very short topsoil moisture.

A major change in the weather pattern is expected during the next 10 days that will allow several opportunities for beneficial rain in the Southern Plains.

We are seeing consistent signs on the models of a return to an El Nino signature weather pattern across the United States. This means a return to wet weather in California with these disturbances providing an opportunity for rainfall in the Southern Plains.

Indications are that these disturbances will tend to slow down as they approach the Southern Plains and allow Gulf of Mexico moisture to move far enough to the west to reach the Southern Plains. Three opportunities for beneficial precipitation are expected during the next 10 days.

We would expect to see another decline in crop ratings next week as any beneficial rain will not arrive until later in the week. Beyond that, crop ratings should improve.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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3/23/2017 | 10:53 AM CDT
It's funny in a way how the wheat price can go down because of a weather forecast(50 cents)s, so it can go up to compensate for the stress and lack of rain. Works great for the traders. Oh yeah, the dollar has gone down too. Let us comment on midday and closing grain prices. You could give us a farmers comment page.
Bryce Anderson
3/21/2017 | 3:00 PM CDT
Our DTN forecast for locations in the southwestern Plains has a notable difference in moisture amounts. In Kansas, western and southern areas have from .1-.4 inch precipitation for this week, and then a range of 1-1.5 inches total precip during the week from Tuesday March 28-Tuesday April 5. In Oklahoma, this week's forecasts suggest precipitation of .2-.4 inch in Panhandle and north-central areas this week, with .3-1.0 inches for the March 28-April 5 period--lighter than Kansas. And the Texas Panhandle has the least amount indicated. Northern Panhandle stations (Dalhart, Amarillo) have around .2-.3 inch this week, but the southern Panhandle (Lubbock) only has around .15-.17 inch. And in the March 28-April 5 week, the northern Panhandle has from .3-.5 inch indicated, while the southern Panhandle has barely a tenth of an inch.