Ag Weather Forum

More El Nino Signature

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
A major warming trend in the eastern Pacific Ocean has eased. However, weather conditions in the central U.S. continue to suggest El Nino-related impact. (NOAA graphic by Nick Scalise)

Despite a somewhat delayed start to corn planting, generally favorable conditions are in effect across the primary U.S. grain areas.

Latest crop reports indicate unchanged or improved crop ratings for winter wheat in the southern Plains with the exception of Oklahoma where ratings dropped a bit. With rain in the forecast during the next week, generally favorable conditions should continue. Winter wheat progress is early to say the least. Forty percent of the acreage is heading in Oklahoma, which is well ahead of normal. Heading is also underway in Kansas.

Midwest corn planting has begun, but is generally running behind normal due to wet conditions. With more rain in the forecast during the next seven days, additional planting disruptions and delays will continue. However, this does not appear to be a big threat at this time, as recent history tells us that once there is a break in the weather, producers will make rapid planting progress.

In the southern U.S., planting weather has been favorable, with corn nearly finished and soybean planting ahead of normal. Cotton planting is underway.

Farther north, spring wheat planting is running behind normal in the northern Plains due to wet fields, with the exception being South Dakota. Fields are expected to remain wet during the next week due to episodes of light to moderate rain.

Finally our sea surface temperature departure calculation in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean for the first half of April was plus 1.2 degrees Celsius. This is down from a plus 1.9 deg C departure during the month of March. The reason for the decline is the sharp drop in sea surface temperatures along the Peru and Ecuador coasts. The coastal El Nino appears to the coming to an end. What we will be waiting to see now is whether a more conventional El Nino develops in the central Pacific. At this time, the overall rainfall pattern in the central U.S. continues to suggest an El Nino signature.

Mike Palmerino can be reached at



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