Weather

Unseasonably mild, spring-like temps cover the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, record-setting warmth continues in advance of an approaching storm system.  On Monday, daily-record high temperatures included 70°F in Fargo, North Dakota, and 80°F in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Sioux City, Iowa.  Later Tuesday, high temperatures will broadly top 70°F as far north as southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin.  As the planting season approaches, soil moisture shortages exist in some areas, primarily from the Mississippi Valley westward.  

On the Plains, above-normal temperatures favor spring planting preparations and the development of winter grains.  Tuesday’s high temperatures will approach or reach 80°F across the southern High Plains.  On March 10, USDA/NASS reported that 65% of the winter wheat was rated in good to excellent condition in Oklahoma, along with 53% in Kansas and 44% in Texas.  In Oklahoma, 7% of the wheat was jointing on that date. 

In the South, scattered frost was reported Tuesday morning as far south as central sections of Alabama and Georgia.  Dry weather throughout the region favors spring fieldwork, including planting activities across the Deep South.  Statewide, 20% of the intended corn acreage in Texas had been planted by March 10, while 18% of the sorghum had been planted.  Elsewhere, strawberry producers in Hillsborough County, Florida, are monitoring losses from last week’s hail event. 

In the West, rain and snow showers are occurring as far south as central California and the northern Great Basin.  The precipitation, though not particularly heavy, is helping to boost anemic snowpack across the northern tier of the West.  Meanwhile, warm, dry weather covers the Southwest.  In Arizona, 49% of the barley had headed by March 10, well ahead of the 5-year average of 24%.  Durum wheat in Arizona was 48% headed on that date, versus the 5-year average of 14%.   

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