April 9, 2014
Where Does the Weather Need to Improve the Most in the U.S.?
With the calendar already in early April, the priority for improved weather would probably be as follows: warmer temperatures in the central and northern Corn Belt, warmer and dryer weather in the central and eastern Corn Belt, additional moisture in the western Corn Belt especially the hard red winter wheat areas, and dryer weather in the Delta
Northwestern Corn Belt - This area is usually the last to plant in the U.S., but the extended cold and wet weather in the region is going to make it probably even later than normal this spring. The temperatures really need to warm up to thaw out the deeply frozen soil. In this category I would put North Dakota, South Dakota, and northwestern Minnesota.
Central and Eastern Corn Belt - The last several episodes of heavy rain and cooler temperatures have kept most farmers out of the field in the central and eastern Corn Belt. The area generally includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. Normally by this time of the year, spring field work is well under way especially in southern Illinois and southern Indiana.
Western Corn Belt - This area has missed out on much of the recent precipitation and in fact the drought has continued to expand in most areas of the western Corn Belt and southern Plains. The crop most immediately impacted by the dry weather is of course the hard red winter wheat. In this category I would put Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, western Iowa, and parts of southwestern Minnesota.
Delta - Spring planting has been slow in the region and heavy rainfall over the weekend will keep the soils too wet for much field activity this week. Included in this category would be Louisiana, Mississippi, and southern Arkansas.
I don't want to be all negative about the spring weather thus far. Dry weather in the spring can actually be a good thing sometimes because it allows for a fast warm up of the soil and a rapid planting pace as long as there remains enough moisture for adequate germination of the crops.
Additionally, the moisture received in parts of Missouri, southern Illinois and southern Indiana probably improved the situation in those areas. These southern areas warm up quickly, so I am not overly concerned about a somewhat delayed planting pace in the region.