The weather patterns so far this spring have not turned out as we had expected. We were thinking the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains could see better corn planting progress than the southern and eastern Midwest. However, the exact opposite has been true. Although much of the Midwest has been wet, the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains have been cool. This has slowed corn planting. It was been much warmer in the southern and eastern Midwest. This has allowed for corn planting progress to be ahead of normal. We do see signs that a turn to warmer, drier weather will occur in the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains during the 6-10 day period. This should allow for rapid corn planting. Spring wheat planting is running behind normal in all states except South Dakota. We would expect to see rapid planting taking place as warmer, drier weather sets in.
Above normal precipitation in the Southern Plains has led to adequate to surplus soil moisture levels. Generally, this has been favorable to developing and heading winter wheat. However, a late-spring snowstorm during the weekend of April 29-30 likely caused some loss to wheat in western areas of the region due to extensive lodging and even breaking of stems. In addition, some damage is also possible from freezing temperatures during the past week; this is notable due to heading progress running ahead of normal. Assessments of crop damage will continue, and the Wheat Quality tour in Kansas will be tracking the damage potential as well. Another major precipitation event is expected to occur on Wednesday followed by drier and warm conditions during the 6-10 day period.
Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial Pacific for the month of April is +0.8 degree. This is a significant drop from the +1.9 degree departure observed during the month of March. The reason for this drop is the rapid decline in the coastal El Nino that developed off the coasts of Peru and Ecuador earlier this year. What we will now be looking to see is whether a more "normal" central Pacific El Nino develops or if we head back into ENSO neutral conditions.
Michael Palmerino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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