According to the calendar, this week officially marks the beginning of spring. Despite what the thermometer may say, planting season is at hand. Temperatures are beginning to warm up and equipment that has been idle for months is ready to hit the fields. Not so fast…
Rain, Rain Go Away
Early planting has been a bit uneven for parts of the South where those efforts are typically accelerating this time of year. Texas and Louisiana saw good progress through early March that slowed considerably when a late winter cold surge hit. Temperature anomalies up to 15°F colder than typical were experienced all the way to the Gulf Coast last week. However, temperatures are warming, spring is in the air again, and the race is ready to resume… or maybe not.
After what has been a very dry trend the past 30 days for the Plains, Delta, and Southeast, a significant change is coming. Our 6-10 day precipitation outlook indicates that a very active period for storms is on the horizon. Pacific systems will batter the West Coast and rapidly move west to east across the country, picking up significant amounts of Gulf moisture. Few areas will escape the precipitation which is likely to continue right into early April, and possibly longer. Severe weather potential will be on the increase again with rainfall amounts expected to be quite heavy with the epicenter in the ArkLaTx region where 3 to 6 inches is possible over the next 7 days.
Short term, this moisture will be helpful against increasing soil moisture deficits. However, at this time of year this weather pattern tends to support a higher potential for significant flooding, and current guidance is hinting at that possibility. For many, this very wet scenario can not come at a worse time. Consecutive days with dry planting windows will be more infrequent. Expect further planting delays with potential replant or prevent plant in the most impacted areas.
Wet Weather Welcomed in Winter Wheat Country
Farmers in the key winter wheat growing areas of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will welcome the wet weather coming their way. Fall planting was mostly uneventful and the crop put out a lot of biomass before the first freeze hit. Winter was generally mild but dry and the crop has come out of dormancy earlier in many areas. The past 30 days have brought no more that 20 percent of normal moisture to the region with no moisture at all in southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles. For producers in this area, the very wet pattern will be just ‘what the farmer ordered’.
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