Warm, Dry Forecast Raises Concern about the U.S. Winter Wheat Crop

Posted on Thu, 10/15/2020 - 10:53

The National Weather Service (NWS) gives elevated odds for warm temperatures across the bulk of the country, with the exception of the far northern Plains and the Pacific Northwest. The highest odds for heat are across the Southwest and into Texas, Oklahoma and southwest Kansas. NWS’s precip outlook is also dry across the Central and Southern Plains through November, with Texas having the highest odds of below-normal precipitation. There are equal chances for normal, above-normal, and below-normal precip in the Northern Plains and the eastern Corn Belt.

These conditions aren’t great for establishment of the U.S. winter wheat crop ahead of winter, especially with drought expanding and intensifying across the Plains and into the eastern Corn Belt. Plants sown in dry soils could lack hardiness for overwintering.

But the NWS’s outlook through January does signal some mild temperatures could lie ahead for much of the country. All but the far northern tier of the U.S. has elevated odds for above-normal temperatures from November through January, with NWS basically issuing a non-forecast from Washington to Wisconsin.

The precipitation outlook is more of a mixed bag. There are elevated odds of wet weather over the next three months from the Pacific Northwest to Minnesota and elevated odds of dry weather across the southern half of the country. Other areas of the Midwest have equal chances for normal, above-normal and below-normal precipitation.

NWS 30- and 90-day forecasts generally warm and dry