Ag Weather Forum

Wet Week Ahead for Corn Belt

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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DTN forecast graphics for the end of April through the first of May have wet and cold conditions dominant over the central U.S. (DTN graphics)

During the week following Easter Sunday April 21, the weather pattern over the central U.S. was not completely dry. Still, conditions were dry enough that there was some progress made on corn planting. However, planting is well-behind average out of the gate, and the upcoming week's weather indicates a standstill on further progress.

During the final days of April into early May, DTN model forecast precipitation totals are running from 1.75 inches to more than 4 inches in the western, central and eastern Midwest. Northern Plains and northern Midwest areas are not quite as heavy, but still troublesome -- from .5 to 1.5 inches total.

To complicate that wet trend, temperatures are largely forecast to run from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit below normal during the upcoming seven-day time frame. That will be cold enough to cause some late-season snow in the northern areas -- a further indication of just how unfavorable these conditions are for putting crops in the ground.

(The DTN forecast graphics are based on an average of many different model productions, primarily the various iterations of the U.S. GFS model.)

Planting delays are obviously going on in corn, but they are prominent in other spring crops as well. Spring wheat seeding has hardly begun -- zero progress was noted in North Dakota and Minnesota a week ago. And oats seeding is also well-behind average in the major states west of the Mississippi River, except for Texas.

Up until these last few days of April, planting disruption has given some notice of concern; however, it was obvious that the trade perspective was to not be too concerned. With this latest wet forecast indication, however, things have changed. DTN Contributing Analyst Joel Karlin noted that since 1986 the average U.S. corn planting pace by May 10 is 61% complete. With so much of the Corn Belt likely to be shut down over the next week, and the reported completion rate quite likely to be no more than 20% nationally on April 29, that 61% planted rate by May 10 average may be in jeopardy.

Obviously, the forecast will be a big feature of interest during the coming weekend and into next week. The situation is becoming critical.

We will have a DTN Planting Forecast Update webinar this coming Wednesday, May 1, at 8:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time. It's free and you are invited to join in. I invite you to sign up here:…

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

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