Cold, unsettled weather lingers across much of the Corn Belt; fair & milder on the Plains

Across the Corn Belt, Tuesday overnight thunderstorms resulted in scattered wind and hail damage in the Ohio Valley.  Currently, cool, breezy conditions have engulfed the Midwest, with rain and snow showers lingering from the Mississippi Valley eastward.  Recent and ongoing storminess has improved topsoil moisture but has curtailed fieldwork.  On March 31, Iowa led the Midwest with topsoil moisture rated 59% very short to short, along with oat planting which was 21% complete.

On the Plains, dry weather accompanies a warming trend.  In fact, temperatures have rebounded to above-normal levels across the High Plains, where Wednesday’s high temperatures should top 70°F as far north as Montana.  Current conditions favor a rapid pace of fieldwork, including early-season plating activities.  By March 31, spring wheat planting was just getting underway (1% complete) in South Dakota, while 2% of the corn had been planted in Kansas.

In the South, locally severe thunderstorms are sweeping into the Atlantic Coast States.  Meanwhile, cool, dry, breezy weather covers much of the remainder of the region, allowing spring planting activities to resume as field conditions permit.  On March 31, Louisiana led the U.S. with 51% of its intended rice acreage planted.

In the West, a few showers are arriving in the Pacific Northwest.  Elsewhere, warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork and crop development.  On March 31, one-fifth (20%) of California’s winter wheat had headed, well ahead of the 5-year average of 7%.  On the same date, 6% of Arizona’s intended cotton acreage had been planted.

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