Ag Weather Forum

Drier Pattern for Midwest, Southern Plains

Elaine Shein
By  Elaine Shein , Associate Managing Editor
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The northwest Midwest and Northern Plains had limited precipitation last week and continue that trend in the DTN seven-day total precipitation forecast. (DTN graphic)

Limited precipitation in the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains last week allowed some corn harvest progress.

Despite the fact we are no longer getting harvest progress numbers from USDA, a relatively quiet week of weather last week should have allowed the corn harvest to continue in the northwest Midwest and Northern Plains.

Soil moisture levels in the Southern Plains are on the short side. It is unlikely as we enter the winter season that much, if any, significant precipitation will occur. This will mean that spring precipitation patterns will be important due to the lack of available soil moisture as the crop breaks dormancy.

Adequate to surplus soil moisture conditions continue for soybeans throughout the major growing areas of Brazil. Only in the northeast (Bahia) is hot and dry weather continuing to have an impact on planting and development. If the weather patterns stay wet in central Brazil, an increase in soybean rust issues can be expected. Little change in this pattern is expected this week.

Rainfall in the major corn and soybean areas of central Argentina last weekend was about as expected. The major soybean areas (Cordoba and Santa Fe) picked up a quarter-inch to 1 inch with locally heavier. The major corn areas (Buenos Aires) only received scattered light showers. The only chance of any beneficial rainfall this week will be on Friday.

At this time, it looks to be on the order of a quarter to three-quarters of an inch with locally heavier. Temperatures out ahead of this system will turn hot in the next few days. If central Argentina remains on the dry side through the remainder of the month, January rainfall patterns will become quite important as that is when you could start doing damage to corn and soybeans.

Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial Pacific for the first half of December is 0.7 degree above normal. This is down from the 1.0 degree above normal observed during the month of November. This would be categorized as temperature pattern on the warm side of normal. However, we continue to see El Nino signatures in weather patterns around the globe including here in the U.S.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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