A wide gap of planting progress across the Corn Belt

A wide gap of planting progress across the Corn Belt

Across the Corn Belt, cold, rainy weather is maintaining a sluggish fieldwork pace across the upper Midwest. This is further widening the gap between planting progress in northern corn and soybean production areas and the southern Corn Belt, where warm, dry weather prevails. On May 6, less than 10% of the intended corn acreage had been planted in Minnesota and the Dakotas, compared with 78% in Missouri and 74% in Illinois.

On the Plains, cool, rainy weather prevails from Montana to Nebraska, curtailing fieldwork. Meanwhile, warm, breezy weather covers the southern half of the Plains, maintaining stress on drought-affected pastures, rangeland, and winter grains. According to USDA/NASS, approximately two-thirds (66%) of Texas’ winter wheat will be abandoned, based on 4.7 million acres planted and an expected 1.6 million acres harvested.

In the South, warm, mostly dry weather continues to promote a rapid pace of fieldwork and crop development. Topsoil moisture has begun to diminish, however, in portions of the southern Atlantic States; on May 6, topsoil moisture was rated 52% very short to short in Florida and Georgia.

In the West, hot, dry, windy weather is maintaining a critical risk of new or enhanced wildfire activity in the Four Corners States. One of the Southwest’s most destructive blazes, the Tinder fire in central Arizona, has burned more than 16,000 acres of timber and has destroyed nearly 100 structures, but is about 80% contained. In contrast, cool weather—accompanied by scattered showers—prevails in the Northwest.

A short-lived surge of cool air will blanket much of the northern and western U.S. into the weekend. By early next week, however, warmth will return to the North, leaving much of the country experiencing above-normal temperatures. During the next few days, showery weather will continue in the northern U.S., particularly from the northern Rockies into the Northeast. In contrast, much of the nation’s southern tier will remain dry, except for increasingly wet weather across Florida. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches or more across southern and eastern Florida.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation nearly nationwide. Cooler-than-normal conditions will be limited to southern California, while drier-than-normal weather should be confined to northern Maine, western Washington, the upper Great Lakes region, and from the Four Corners region to southern Texas.

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