By Mick Kjar, Meteorologist

At the end of April now as we stare at the radar and thermometer in hopes of some warm, dry weather for a few fleeting hours of fieldwork … we hear of significant rains the last week of April and early May for the major corn producing states from Nebraska eastward between I-70 north to I-90 and 94 all the way to Pennsylvania!

An inch or two across North Dakota 2 to 3 for South Dakota and Minnesota, but 4 to 5 inches in the “I” states and the Mississippi and Ohio River Valley States for the final week of April. Corn planting delays look imminent.

Now for some good news, a few days of sun and no rain will dry things out by the middle, certainly by the end of the first week of May. That’s the big planting week for much of our area. I am told there isn’t too much anxiety as of this writing, and considering the size of our equipment, much seed can go in the ground in a short period of time. Mother Nature is fickle and unpredictable for sure … but although we were in drought mode most of February, March and the first half of April, with the last part of April cold and damp, it looks like most of May will be suitable for farming.

A further look over the forecast horizon we find cooler than normal temps lingering into June and July! Cool and dry we can handle, but cool in this part of the world is often accompanied by wet, so although the snow disappeared in February and some significant sugarbeet and small grain planting has taken place in the Southern Red River Valley the second and third week of April, wheels have pretty much quit turning. Soil temperatures remain on the cool side, but with some hours of sun and the higher sun angle of this time of year, soil temps should rise rapidly and return to where we need them to be. The accumulation of growing degree days in the early part of the growing season though will be slow. Somehow by the end of the season things usually average out, both temperature, moisture and even GDD’s, so it looks like the heat is on for late July, August and into September, with a warm, dry fall and another warmer than normal winter in the long range outlook. Now all we have to do is get some seed in the ground!