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June 15, 2011

Is the 2011 Growing Season Similar to 2009 or Not So Much?

There is a lot of speculation about how the 2011 planting season has been very similar to the 2009 planting season and how the 2009 crops ended up being very good and if that could occur again this year. There have been some similarities between the two years thus far, but there have also been significant differences as well.

After the late start in 2009, the weather during the remainder of the growing season ended up being very good. The nationwide soil moisture remained above the ten-year average all summer and the conditions of both the corn and the soybean crops were very steady all summer and also above the ten-year average. The corn and soybean crops in 2009 never encountered any extended periods of heat stress or moisture stress. If I remember correct, Chicago had very few days above 90 degrees during the summer of 2009. Thus far in 2011 at Midway Airport in Chicago, we have already logged six days above 90 degrees and more are in the forecast.

Another major difference this year is the extensive flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, which did not occur in 2009. Additionally, the current soil moisture is very dry across the Gulf Coast from Texas to North Carolina. That was not the case in 2009.

The 2011 growing season is starting off with some similarities to 2009 in that the crops were planted later than normal in both years, but there have already been many differences well. The type of weather we have this growing season remains to be seen and I think it would be very premature to anticipate a similar outcome to what was observed in 2009.