Midwest Soil Moisture Variable; Wheat Prospects Improve

Posted on 03/09/2017 10:22 AM

Midwest Field Moisture Variable
Rainfall has favored the the western Corn Belt the past two weeks, while drier weather has dominated east of the Mississippi Valley.

It is feast or famine. Nebraska and South Dakota have been soaked by very heavy rainfall, up to twice the average the past 15 days, while Indiana and Michigan received just 30% -50% of normal rainfall. Illinois also trended much drier.


The Midwest forecast is turning wet for the upcoming week. At least .75 inch of rainfall is predicted on the leading corn and soybeans states. Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin are targeted for the heaviest rainfall 1 inch but up to 1.75 inch locally, with locally strong thunderstorms. The chances for rainfall are 75% to 85% today in the 3 states. The eastern Corn Belt faces a 75% to 80% risk for showers Tuesday.


"Rain makes grain" is the motto that applies in Midwest corn. A second round of showers is predicted Friday and Saturday. The rainy weather pattern is construed as positive for corn growth and development. The 6-10 day forecast is drier and cooler in the Midwest Corn Belt.


Wheat Prospects on the Rise
Wheat farms in the Great Plains have benefited from strong showers in May. A rash of strong thunderstorms developed overnight in the Great Plains, Kansas wheat farms receiving very heavy rainfall . May weather conditions have been have been wet and stormy. Recurring strong thunderstorms this month have led to 150-200% of normal rainfall in the leading U.S. winter wheat state.

Drenching rains promoted the development of plump kernels on wheat ears, boosting the yield. Unseasonably cool May temperatures have further increased the wheat yield potential.

USDA has projected Kansas wheat production at 353 million bu.; the May 1st estimate 9.5% higher than 2015. The Kansas Wheat Tour conducted early in May anticipates a significantly higher yield, 48.6 bushels per acre, up 13% from last year in top wheat state. The Kansas wheat harvest typically begins mid June and is completed by mid July. Additional ground truth on wheat yields would become available as the harvest advances.

Spring Wheat Excels
Spring wheat production is expected to set a new record, bolstered by favorable prospects in North Dakota. Producers on May 22nd, the most recent USDA report, reported 80% good-excellent, 18% fair and 2% poor wheat. North Dakota is the leading wheat state in the country last year producing 370 million bu. against Kansas's 322 million bushels.

Favorable prospects in both winter wheat and spring wheat point to much larger U.S. wheat production in 2016.


The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of Pro Farmer.


Add new comment