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Across the Corn Belt, rain showers linger across Michigan. Although dry weather prevails in other areas, Midwestern fieldwork remains mostly on hold. Missouri leads the Midwest with 16% of its corn acreage planted by April 21, followed by Iowa with 4%; five-year averages on that date are 33 and 10%, respectively.

On the Plains, heavy rain has developed across parts of Oklahoma and northern Texas, slowing fieldwork but maintaining generally favorable moisture reserves for winter wheat and newly planted crops. In contrast, warm, dry weather covers the northern Plains, favoring an acceleration of fieldwork. In South Dakota, only 2% of the intended spring wheat acreage had been planted by April 21, compared to the 5-year average of 47%.

In the South, rain showers are returning across the western Gulf Coast region. Warm, dry weather covers the remainder of the South, favoring an acceleration of fieldwork as conditions permit. Only 24% of the rice in Arkansas had been planted by April 21, compared to the 5-year average of 51%.

In the West, warm weather from California to the northern Rockies contrasts with below-normal temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and the southern half of the Rockies. One-fifth of California’s intended cotton acreage was planted during the week ending April 21 to reach 35% overall; the 5-year average is 53%.

Locally heavy showers will persist across the south-central U.S. through mid-week before shifting eastward. Additional rainfall across the southeastern Plains and the western and central Gulf Coast States could reach 1 to 4 inches or more. During the second half of the week, showers will spread across the Ohio Valley and the eastern U.S. Meanwhile, a fast-moving disturbance will produce showers across the northern Plains and upper Midwest, starting on Friday, and the Great Lakes and Northeastern States during the weekend. Cool weather will trail that disturbance, especially across the northern U.S.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for the likelihood of above-normal temperatures across the southern half of the U.S., while cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail across the nation’s northern tier. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country will contrast with drier-than-normal weather in the western and central Gulf Coast States and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."