Ag Weather Forum

Strong El Nino Trademarks

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Equatorial Pacific temperatures off the South America coast are well-above normal, and appear to have jump-started El Nino weather happenings in the Americas. (NOAA/NESDIS graphic by Nick Scalise)

The latest state crop reports have no real big surprises. The reports indicate that the winter wheat crop in the Southern Plains is responding to an increase in rainfall. Crop conditions had been falling during the past several weeks due to hot and dry conditions depleting soil moisture. However this week's report shows an increase in the good to excellent ratings of between 4 and 8 percentage points. We would expect to see continued improvement in ratings as the rainfall pattern in the region remains active due to the South America coastal El Nino event.

The Delta states have made good progress planting corn especially in southern areas, with planting nearing completion in Louisiana.

Producers are trying to get corn planting underway in the southern Midwest. However, a very active rainfall pattern is disrupting fieldwork. We would expect to continue to see slow progress made on corn planting in the southern Midwest as the wet weather pattern continues.

The northwest Midwest and Northern Plains will be on the less-active side of the weather pattern. This could allow for some better conditions for planting once the soil warms up. At this time, North Dakota is expecting fieldwork to begin on April 19.

As we commented earlier, the coastal El Nino pattern off South America continues. Our sea surface temperature departure for the month of March was plus-1.9 degrees Celsius. This is unchanged from February. Our data set is more biased towards the eastern Pacific. The Australia and U.S. calculations are more biased towards the central Pacific. We feel that our database is a better indication of sea surface temperature patterns that tend to have a significant impact on the U.S. and South America. The central Pacific readings are more indicative of the sea surface temperature patterns that may have a worldwide impact, but possibly not as significantly in the U.S. and South America.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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Jim Book
4/12/2017 | 11:02 AM CDT
Seen a map showing warm water off the Atlantic coast and the western part of the Gulf of Mexico. How does this effect weather in the eastern corn belt.