USDA meteorologist sees ‘definite risk’ of Midwest planting delays

Dennis Todey, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub at Ames, Iowa

The latest National Weather Service forecast for March calls for cooler and drier conditions across much of the Midwest. 

“We’re going to get locked into a pattern with some Canadian air coming down, and Canadian air tends not to have a lot of moisture with it,” says Dennis Todey, director of USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub. “So our chances of precipitation become less for March.”

But Todey says that pattern could start to shift by the end of March, with increased chances of above-average precipitation for April and May.

“They don’t weigh heavily, saying we have a very strong inclination that it’s going to be wetter than average. But when you combine widespread wet soils with any kind of an indication of above-average precip, that’s where we start really getting concerned about delays in planting.”

And Todey says while they’re not calling for a repeat of 2019 planting challenges, “there is a definite risk for delays going again.”

Todey says the longer-range forecasts are not indicating anything out of the ordinary for the rest of the growing season.

AUDIO: Dennis Todey

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