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Meteorologist outlines variable weather conditions in the Midwest

An ag meteorologist says farmers are experiencing a wide range of weather conditions in the Corn Belt, Great Plains, and Delta regions at the start of planting season.

Brownfield’s Greg Soulje says extreme dryness and drought continues in the Great Plains.  

“The headline story from a drought standpoint continues to be generally areas west and southwest of the Missouri River, especially Nebraska, more so into Kansas, and even more so as you get into the western two-thirds of Oklahoma, and virtually all of Texas and through New Mexico and in the central and southern high plains—that winter wheat belt,” he says. “So extreme dryness and drought continues. There are snippets of moisture in those southeastern winter wheat belt areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas.”  

He tells Brownfield it has been a case of too much of a good thing when it comes to rainfall in other areas.

“Almost weekly severe weather outbreaks into the Tennessee Valley, the Ozark Plateau, and the northern and central Delta region.That is a very wet part of the country that started off in relatively good order, and continues to be falling behind, especially with rice and soybean planting.”

As for the Upper Midwest, Soulje says “we’ve had some drought relief but it’s coming in the wrong form, especially for the livestock sector. There have been a couple winter storms as of late.”

He says there has been planting progress in Nebraska and Missouri, but Eastern Corn Belt states have too much moisture.

“The rest of the Eastern Corn Belt has turned too wet and too cold and that will be the story here,” he says. “There are ups and downs on temperatures and anytime we wiggle the thermometer around we’re going to make rainfall, so there is a tendency right now for too wet fields or too cold fields.”

Soulje says wet conditions will likely continue in the coming weeks.

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