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Return to wet, cold winter conditions is likely

There will likely be a return to wet, cold winter weather in February in the Midwest. Eric Snodgrass is the principal atmospheric scientist with Nutrien Ag Solutions.

He says additional wet conditions could be a challenge in areas that have had above-average moisture.

“Even if it’s drier come spring, when the thaw happens that water has to go somewhere,” he says. “The rivers up north are currently frozen so that means we’re going to have our normal spring flood fight in that part of the world which could delay planting in areas like the Dakotas, Minnesota, and parts of Nebraska.” 

He says certain areas of the Midwest are especially vulnerable after flooding last year.

“The headwaters of the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers are full so they’re already vulnerable to that again,” he says. “What made that so bad last year was this sequence of storms in March that came through just as things were starting to thaw. They added three to five inches of rain on a thawing river and we busted the Missouri River out of its banks.”

But, Snodgrass says advances in technology have helped farmers to close the gap on tighter planting windows and he remains optimistic.

Brownfield interviewed Snodgrass at the First Farmers Bank and Trust ag summit in West Lafayette, Indiana.

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