Dry Start to 2016 for the Corn Belt – A Sign of Things to Come!

According to meteorologists, the meteorological Winter (1 Dec – 29 Feb) will be over in 17 days! Hope that warms you up a bit. Can’t complain about this Winter too much as it’s trended the 3rd warmest of the past 25 years, 2nd wettest (mostly due to the flooding in December) and 3rd least snowfall in 25 years for the Corn Belt overall.

As El Nino continues its collapse we’ll need to start monitoring precipitation trends as we are very concerned and very confident we’re headed for the start of a 2-year drought in the Corn Belt. Yes we know soil moisture levels are great now, let’s talk in July when we expect the 2nd hottest July in 25 years in parts of the Corn Belt.

This chart shows precipitation 2016 year-to-date for the Corn Belt trending the driest in 13 years and 4th driest of the past 25 years. Nebraska is the wet spot while Missouri and Illinois have been very dry…they needed the dryness after the floods in December. 

El Nino peaked in December but since it’s started to collapse we see a much drier pattern across the Corn Belt.

While parts of the Plains have had a decent amount of snow this season, namely Nebraska, for the Corn Belt as a whole the season (1 Oct – 12 Feb) to date snowfall is actually the least in 3 years and 5th least of the past 25 years.

Over the next 14-days the drier pattern looks to continue in the Corn Belt with heavier rain in the Pacific Northwest, Southern Plains and East Coast.

For the Corn Belt as a whole (major corn producing counties highlighted on the map) the next two weeks look to trend the driest in 12 years for the late February time-frame and 4th driest of the past 25 years.

I hope you’re having a good Winter break and gearing up for what is going to be a very challenging season!

Source: Bill Kirk,

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