Corn Belt Weather Outlook and Planting Progress05/04/2018
Spring planting is finally under way across the Corn Belt, except for Minnesota and the Dakotas. Following a very cold and snowy April across the Plains and Midwest, spring finally arrived at the end of the month, allowing snow to melt, grounds to warm, and field work to begin. It’s no surprise, though, corn planting progress is currently well behind last year’s pace and the 5-year average. As of April 29th, only 2 states – Missouri and Texas – were ahead of their state’s average planting pace. Missouri made a whopping 36% advance in planting since the previous week, moving total planting to 52% complete which is 1% ahead of average. Illinois had the second largest week-over-week improvement in planting progress, jumping up 28% to 32% planted. This progress still leaves the state 27% behind last year and 8% behind the 5-year average. Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Indiana saw weekly planting of 17%, 15%, 12%, and 7% respectively. With none of the corn crop planted as of April 29th, Minnesota is currently the furthest behind in planting. Typically by this time, about a quarter of the crop has been planted.
Over the next 7 days, temperatures across the Corn Belt are forecast to be generally warmer than normal. The Western Corn Belt could see the largest deviation in temperatures from normal this weekend, as temperatures are forecast to trend 5-15F above normal. By early next week, there could be a few days of cooler trends from Missouri eastward. But by mid-week, warmer trends should move back in to the region. Today and tomorrow (5/3 and 5/4) will bring the greatest chance for rainfall to the Corn Belt over the next 7 days. Portions of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana could see 1-2” of rain today and conditions will be favorable for severe thunderstorms, especially in southern Iowa, northern and western Missouri, and northeastern Kansas. Hail, strong winds, and possibly even a tornado could be produced by these storms. By tomorrow, the rain shifts eastward with a lower probability of severe weather. A few lighter showers are possible over the weekend, but planting conditions are expected to be generally favorable through the middle of next week.
In the 8-14 day forecast period, conditions across the Corn Belt are projected to be mostly favorable. Temperatures for the 7-day period will be warmer than normal. The Central and Western Corn Belt is likely to see the warmest trends during this period while the Eastern Corn Belt will be only a couple degrees above normal. Current rainfall outlooks for this period show mainly scattered showers. Longer-range guidance for the second half of May suggests temperatures will continue to trend above normal, although day-to-day trends could vary. Precipitation is projected to trend near to somewhat below normal during the latter half of the month. These conditions would certainly allow for planting to catch up closer to the 5-year average. Typically, by the end of May, national corn planting is around 90% complete. As of the end of April, planting was only 17% complete.