Quiet weather covering much of the Heartland


Quiet weather covering much of the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, cool but mostly dry weather prevails. However, many fields and feedlots remain very wet, following recent storminess. In Illinois, for example, topsoil moisture was rated 56% surplus in late March. Meanwhile, final harvest efforts remain largely stalled in North Dakota, where the corn harvest is 75% complete.

On the Plains, mild, mostly dry weather favors winter wheat growth and spring planting preparations. In late March, at least one-half of the winter wheat was reported in good to excellent condition in all major reporting states on the Plains, ranging from 50% in Kansas and Montana to 85% in South Dakota. In Oklahoma, 44% of the wheat was jointing by March 29, while the crop was just starting to joint in Kansas (3%) and Colorado (1%).

In the South, the latest in a series of storms is producing soaking rain across interior sections of the region. Some of the heaviest rain is falling across the Tennessee Valley and the southern Appalachians, where wetness-related fieldwork delays continue. In stark contrast, very dry conditions persist in Florida and along the Gulf Coast. The dryness is promoting fieldwork but reducing soil moisture for crop germination and growth. In Texas, 56% of the intended rice acreage had been planted by March 29, compared to the 5-year average of 25%.

In the West, cool, showery, unsettled weather prevails from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies. Late-season snow is accumulating at many high-elevation sites in the Northwest. Meanwhile, mild, dry conditions stretch from central and southern California into the Southwest, favoring spring fieldwork and crop development.

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