Ag Weather Forum
Bryce Anderson DTN Ag Meteorologist and DTN Analyst

Thursday 07/30/15

Beneficial Rains Fall on Many Parts of the Prairies

A weather pattern change across western Canada during the past couple of weeks has brought much needed rainfall to many areas. Western and northwestern Alberta has missed out on the major portion of the rainfall but even here some shower activity has been helpful.

During July a large portion of southern Alberta, much of Saskatchewan and Manitoba have seen a major rebound in rainfall with the accompanying chart showing blue colors across areas that were red just a couple of weeks ago. The blue colors indicate more than 150 percent of normal rainfall for the 30 day period with dark blue areas more than twice the normal rain for the given period.

The timely rainfall has boosted soil moisture levels to much more acceptable levels in many areas and likely will save many crops from withering away this summer as well as improving the outlook for crop harvest. The most recent rainstorm brought from 1 to 3 inches (25-76 mm) of rain to much of southeastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba with some flooding even being a problem for a few spots.

The upswing in rainfall during the past few weeks has not been entirely without some problems with reports of strong winds, hail, spotty flooding, and lodging of crops coming in. More rain is also needed for central and western Alberta to bring crop development back to acceptable levels for mid summer.

The outlook for the coming week shows a drier weather pattern coming back as the subtropical ridge across the south-central U.S. shifts back into the interior U.S. West and pokes northward into southwest Canada. This process will push the storm track that has recently brought beneficial rains to the Prairies northward and allow for warming temperatures. Overall this is not a problem for most areas as some warmth and sunshine after a good watering is favorable for crop growth.

Further down the road some of the forecast models imply that new energy from the Pacific could bring a return of showery conditions during the second week of August. This could be good timing after a week of drier weather and hopefully Alberta might see more rain this time around. Model products for the month of August continue to paint near to above normal rainfall and seasonable temperatures across the Prairies which should help maturing and filling crops.

Doug Webster can be reached at


Posted at 10:33AM CDT 07/30/15 by Doug Webster

Wednesday 07/29/15

Increasing World El Nino Concerns

We tend to discuss El Nino just in terms of U.S. crop impact--and it certainly is a valid angle--but there's a lot of other effect that El Nino conditions have in many other countries. The following Associated Press article has a good summary of the big concerns that the intensifying El Nino is causing across the globe.

(Photo by Bryce Anderson)

Worldwide Strengthening El Nino Giveth And Taketh Away


Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) --- In California, they're counting on it to end an historic drought; in Peru, they've already declared a pre-emptive emergency to prepare for devastating flooding. It's both an economic stimulus and a recession-maker. And it's likely to increase the price of coffee, chocolate and sugar.

It's El Nino --- most likely, the largest in well over a decade, forecasters say. A lot more than mere weather, it affects lives and pocketbooks in different ways in different places.

Every few years, the winds shift and the water in the Pacific Ocean gets warmer than usual. That water sloshes back and forth around the equator in the Pacific, interacts with the winds above and then changes weather worldwide.

This is El Nino. Droughts are triggered in places like Australia and India, but elsewhere, droughts are quenched and floods replace them. The Pacific gets more hurricanes; the Atlantic fewer. Winter gets milder and wetter in much of the United States. The world warms, goosing Earth's already rising thermometer from man-made climate change.

Peruvian sailors named the formation El Nino --- the (Christ) Child --- because it was most noticeable around Christmas. An El Nino means the Pacific Ocean off Peru's coast is warm, especially a huge patch 330 feet (100 meters) below the surface, and as it gets warmer and close to the surface, the weather "is just going to be a river falling from the sky," said biophysicist Michael Ferrari, director of climate services for agriculture at the Colorado firm aWhere Inc.

Around the world, crops fail in some places, thrive elsewhere. Commercial fishing shifts. More people die of flooding, fewer from freezing. Americans spend less on winter heating. The global economy shifts.

"El Nino is not the end of the world so you don't have to hide under the bed. The reality is that in the U.S. an El Nino can be a good thing," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

This El Nino officially started in March and keeps getting stronger. If current trends continue, it should officially be termed a strong El Nino early in August, peak sometime near the end of year and peter out sometime next spring.

Meteorologists say it looks like the biggest such event since the fierce El Nino of 1997-1998.

California mudslides notwithstanding, the U.S. economy benefited by nearly $22 billion from that El Nino, according to a 1999 study. That study found that 189 people were killed in the U.S, mainly from tornadoes linked to El Nino, but an estimated 850 lives were saved due to a milder winter.

A United Nations-backed study said that El Nino cost Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela nearly $11 billion. Flooding in Peru destroyed bridges, homes, hospitals and crops and left 354 dead and 112 missing, according to the Pan-American Health Organization. The mining industry in Peru and Chile was hammered as flooding hindered exports.

Though this year's El Nino is likely to be weaker than the 1997-1998 version, the economic impact may be greater because the world's interconnected economy has changed with more vulnerable supply chains, said risk and climate expert Ferrari.

Economic winners include the U.S., China, Mexico and Europe while India, Australia and Peru are among El Nino's biggest losers.

On average, a healthy El Nino can boost the U.S. economy by about 0.55 percent of Gross Domestic Product, which would translate more than $90 billion this year, an International Monetary Fund study calculated this spring. But it could also slice an entire percentage point off Indonesia's GDP.

Indonesia gets hit particularly hard because an expected El Nino drought affects the country's mining, power, cocoa, and coffee industries, said IMF study co-author Kamiar Mohaddes, an economist at the University of Cambridge in London.

The expected El Nino drought in parts of Australia has started and may trim as much as 1 percent off of the country's GDP, said Andrew Watkins, supervisor of climate prediction services at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Tony Barnston, lead El Nino forecaster at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University (IRI), cautioned that while El Nino has predictable effects and this one is strong, what happens next is not exactly certain.

But Peruvians are worried. Abraham Levy, director of Ambiental Andina, which advises businesses on meteorology- and hydrology-related issues, believes this El Nino could lead Peru into recession. Important export crops such as mangos and asparagus that grow in coastal valleys are already being adversely affected by the unseasonably high temperatures, said Levy.

"The export mango crop has not yet flowered," he said. "And if we don't have flowers we don't have fruit."

And then there's the flooding. Peru declared a pre-emptive state of emergency this month for 14 of its 25 states, appropriating some $70 million to prepare.

Hipolito Cruchaga, the civil defense director in Peru's northern region of Piura, said authorities are clearing river beds of debris, reinforcing river banks with rock and fortifying reservoir walls. Sandbags and rocks are also being piled on some river banks.

"If the sea stays this hot at the end of August I'm afraid we're doomed," he said.

Bajak reported from Lima, Peru.


Posted at 10:48AM CDT 07/29/15 by Bryce Anderson

Tuesday 07/28/15

Crop Ratings Stay Solid

We see more of the same this week when it comes to crop ratings; outside of the southwestern and eastern Midwest, crops are poised to hold their own in the production scheme for this season. The overall corn good to excellent total, at 70 percent, improved by one percentage point over a week ago, and the poor to very poor combined total held steady at nine percent. Soybeans had a similar performance, with the 62 percent good to excellent total matching the figure from last week, while at the other end of the spectrum, the 11 percent combined poor to very poor rating total also was identical with a week ago.

Corn ratings this week show a continuation of dealing with adverse weather earlier this season better than soybeans. (DTN photo by Bryce Anderson)

Issues remain where they have ever since the end of May -- Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. These states have an average G/EX rating total of just under 52 percent on corn, and 42.5 G/EX on soybeans. The soybean rating challenge in these five states is most acute; the Missouri G/EX total is just 30 percent with Indiana and Ohio both at only 41 percent G/EX.

These low ratings in soybeans, of course, certainly bring down the national total. While the 62 percent G/EX on beans matches a week ago, that number is nine percentage points below last year. Compare that with corn, where the 70 percent G/EX total is only five percentage points below a year ago.

Moving now into the end of July and the beginning of August, the soybean situation takes more of the center stage with pod-filling time approaching. And, if the U.S. forecast model -- which I favored in the Tuesday DTN market weather video -- verifies, conditions should be favorable for the soybean fill stage. Upper-air wind patterns look to move from northwest to southeast, which wards off a real heat-wave scenario. Also, continued upper-air troughing over the Great Lakes is a prominent item in the atmosphere, and that is a rain-making feature -- which should keep soybeans out of a real stressful situation at least for the first week of August.


Twitter @BAndersonDTN

Posted at 2:42PM CDT 07/28/15 by Bryce Anderson

Thursday 07/23/15

Some Prairie Areas Miss Out on Beneficial Rains

Significant rains have occurred during the most recent seven-day period through some of the driest areas of the Western Canadian Prairies. Large sections of Alberta and portions of Saskatchewan saw at least moderate rains and in some cases heavy rainfall during the period. This likely means at least some improvement in crop conditions for areas that received the heaviest of this rainfall. This was especially helpful for parts of southern and western Alberta that has been so dry during this growing season.

Large sections of Alberta and portions of Saskatchewan saw at least moderate rainfall and in some cases heavy rainfall in the last week. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

However, even with this beneficial rainfall the region still runs well-below normal for the season and in some cases the rain totals during this past week did not even bring the 30-day rainfall up to normal levels. In any case, the rains were needed and should help somewhat.

This applies to areas of the southwest that have been very dry and received beneficial rains during the past week, but not everyone in the area had enough rain to make much of a difference, especially as temperatures have again rose. We note that portions of southeast Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan missed out on much of this rain and still need a good, general soaking rain.

The current upper level pattern over the United States and Canada points towards a set-up that could bring another significant rain event to the Canadian Prairies. The ridge position is currently over the south-central U.S. region and showing signs of shifting a little to the east into the Mississippi River Valley during the next five to seven days. As this occurs, a strong upper level low is expected to slide southward over the western part of Canada. This low then moves east across the Canadian Prairies or the Northern Plains of the U.S., but is slowed down by the ridging over the Mississippi River Valley. This slower-moving upper level trough and its resulting surface storm should mean significant rains for the Canadian Prairies probably during the timeframe of later this weekend or early next week.

The rains associated with this system would be highly beneficial if they occurred through southwest and central areas, as this region still runs well-below normal for the seasonal rainfall to date. However, if the rain hits the eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba area, it would be neutral at best and could be unfavorable if it leads to flooding in an area that has already had some issues with heavy rainfall during the season.

The current thinking supports the more easterly track on this low, but there is some uncertainty in this outlook. This system will be watched to determine its potential to bring either beneficial rains to the western growing areas or flooding rains to the eastern locations.


Posted at 1:42PM CDT 07/23/15 by Joel Burgio

Tuesday 07/21/15

Crop Report Comments

Once again there were no major surprises in the latest crop reports. Weather conditions remain very favorable in the western Midwest as evidenced by the high percentage of both corn and soybeans rated good to excellent. However it remains a different story in the eastern Midwest where crop ratings are not nearly as good as in the west. As we all know this is not due to hot, dry weather but due to excessive wetness. The region being most impacted by this extends from eastern Illinois eastward across Indiana and into Ohio. Western Illinois conditions are more like the western Midwest. The main issues for corn and soybeans appear to be related to planting dates. Earlier plantings on well drained soils are faring better than later plantings that are showing poor growth due to nutrient deficiency caused by the excessive rainfall. The soft wheat crop has also been hit hard with low quality, scab, sprouting, mold and in some cases the presence of vomitoxin.

We are hopeful that the worst is over in terms of the wet weather impacting crop ratings. The character of the weather patterns through the end of the month will continue to feature episodes of scattered showers and thunderstorms. However what we think may happen is that there will be more breaks in between rain events allowing for fields to dry out more.

Much of the southern US has seen more of a turn to hotter and drier conditions which is depleting soil moisture, especially in the Delta states. We are expecting to see a pattern that would feature mostly above normal temperatures and below normal rainfall through the end of the month. This will put more stress on pod filling soybeans.



Posted at 9:05PM CDT 07/21/15 by Mike Palmerino

Thursday 07/16/15

Rainfall Boosts Soil Moisture in Western Canada

The rains have started to fall for parts of the Prairies during the past week, but not all locations have seen a beneficial rain total. This is typical for summer showers. A wide variety of reports are coming in regarding crop conditions and how dry it is across Western Canada.

The departure from normal (in percent) across the Prairies during the seven-day period from July 8 to July 14 shows variable rainfall amounts in each province. (Graphic courtesy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

While extremely dry conditions cover some areas causing crop stress and loss, other areas have seen plentiful rains during the recent week with even a few spots reported too much rain and flooding. Based on the most recent seven-day rainfall percentage of normal we can see that some parts of south-central Alberta and a larger portion of west-central Saskatchewan have seen greater than 200% of normal rainfall. Such is the case across parts of eastern Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba as well.

These rains are very welcome and hopefully have come in time to help stressed crops to recover. Also evident on the weekly rainfall chart is that some very dry areas remain for parts of central and far southern Alberta. The good news is that during the next 48 hours some of these dry areas should also get in on some decent rains. There is even some chance that heavy rains could fall for some of central and southern Alberta and western Saskatchewan between now and early Saturday as low pressure slides slowly eastward across the southern Prairies.

The return of the rain and cooler weather for many areas should certainly boost soil moisture levels and begin the recovery process for many crops. Drought stress has not been as big of a problem for Manitoba this summer, but even these areas will see some welcome rain during the next few days.

The return of the rain is due to a change in the jet stream flow pattern. We now have a flow coming in from the north Pacific in a fashion to allow weather systems to cross through the Prairies and produce the needed rain.

The overall rainfall pattern during the coming few weeks looks better than what we saw earlier in the summer. While rains are not expected to be with us all of the time, we do see a more normal pattern of rain potential every few days for most areas. Again, not everyone will see rain with each event, but over time most areas should see enough rain to benefit crop development.

Most of the long-range computer models indicate that as we move from late July to early August during the crop maturing stage, we should see near- and maybe above-normal rains. Temperatures are expected to average near or a bit cooler than normal which could become an issue if it becomes too cool.

Crop conditions and soil moisture levels should show improvement across an increasingly greater area during the coming week as a result of recent and expected rainfall. Areas reporting very dry conditions should be on the decline.

Doug Webster can be reached at

Posted at 10:22AM CDT 07/16/15 by Doug Webster
Comments (1)
The level of yield damage to spring wheat from heat and dryness prior to this rain event might be the driver for North American wheat prices. Freeport, IL
Posted by Freeport IL at 10:31PM CDT 07/16/15

Tuesday 07/14/15

Crop Report Comments

There were no real surprises with the latest crop reports that came out on Monday afternoon. We continue to deal with issues of it being too cloudy, cool and wet in the eastern Midwest. This has stressed corn and soybeans with ponding of low spots in fields causing extensive yellowing of crops due to nitrogen leaching as well as plant mortality in some cases.

It is unusual, to say the least, to be dealing with this situation into the month of July. Normally we get concerned when temperatures turn hot and the weather turns dry for its potential impact on corn pollination. Based on the character of the weather patterns this growing season, it seems unlikely that we will be dealing with much concern over hot and dry weather for this area. It will come down to how much damage can this wet weather pattern ultimately cause to crops.

Certainly the overall threat from cool and wet is nowhere near that of hot and dry. But, clearly, it is impacting crop conditions. The wet weather is also impacting the soft wheat crop with reports of the mature crop sprouting and affected by disease due to the inability of producers to get out into the fields to harvest. This is also hurting the planting of double-crop soybeans in the Ohio Valley, as well as single-season soybean crop plans in Missouri. Producers will likely continue to try to plant more soybeans through the end of the month as weather conditions allow due to plentiful soil moisture and not having to worry about an early end to the growing season in the southern portions of the Midwest.

The northwestern Midwest and Northern Plains are having an exceptional growing season so far, as crops respond to an early planting and a good mixture of sun and rain. Most corn and soybeans are rated in good to excellent condition.

Soil moisture supplies are still mostly adequate in the southern US favoring filling corn and developing soybeans. However, the weather this week will feature above-normal temperatures and little rainfall, which will deplete soil moisture and increase crop stress especially to pod-filling soybeans. The current long-range outlook for next week calls for less heat and some opportunities for rain. If this verifies, growing conditions will remain favorable.



Posted at 10:47AM CDT 07/14/15 by Mike Palmerino

Thursday 07/09/15

Showers Show Some Promise For W. Canada

There appear to be changes blowing in the wind which may bring some relief to drought stressed crops across western Canada during the next week. Very warm and mostly dry weather will continue into the weekend before a stalled front stretching from west to east across the central Prairies gains a little energy as a couple of low pressure areas make a journey along the front during the next week.

While we are not predicting a widespread beneficial soaking for the region we do see opportunity for many areas to see at least some modest relief from the dry conditions. During the period from Saturday through the middle of next week we should see daily threats of scattered showers and a few thundershowers across most all of the Prairies.

While every location may not see rain each day we feel that over the several day span most locations should see one or two days with some helpful amounts of showers. Crops are struggling in most areas, falling behind normal plant growth stages for this time of the season due to the dry conditions.

Areal coverage of short to very short soil moisture levels continues to build and rainfall is needed soon to prevent some rather large crop losses for the season. As we have seen all season, Manitoba has fared the best with respect to rainfall with southern and eastern areas actually a little too wet for some. There has also been a little improvement across parts of southern Alberta during the past week with scattered showers for some but on the whole dry conditions are a major issue for most of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Our hopes for some increased rainfall are pinned to the idea of the stalled front and low pressure areas moving along it during the next week helping to induce showers and a few thundershowers. It is not out of the question a few thunderstorms could become strong and produce some strong winds and hail for a few spots but the rainfall produced by these storms will be more than welcome.

The upper level pattern evolving will allow for a bit of a battle ground between cooler weather across the northern Prairies and rather warm weather across the southern Prairies and the northern U.S. for a several day period. We have seen little of this pattern during the past couple of months which has lead us down the road into dry conditions.

Longer range model forecasts are also showing some optimism for those looking for rainfall. For the first time in several weeks we are seeing near to above normal rainfall forecast for most of the Prairies for the second half of July into early August. If these forecasts verify we could see rains arrive just in time to help save the crop season for many farmers.

During the first week of July we have seen some cooler weather arrive for most areas bringing some minor help to the crops suffering through the dry conditions. Temperature outlooks for the next few weeks indicate eastern areas may see some cooler weather at times while the west sees a little more warmth but not any extreme heat as it appears now.

Doug Webster can be reached at

Posted at 11:03AM CDT 07/09/15 by Doug Webster

Wednesday 07/08/15

Floods, Drought May Reduce World Wheat Production

OMAHA (DTN) -- Questions about what the world wheat harvest will be in 2015 are prominent going into the Northern Hemisphere midsummer. On an individual nation basis, issues may not mean disaster; but, taken in total, the global wheat pile may look a little smaller after everyone's harvest.

Widespread drought in the Canadian Prairies and northwestern U.S. and extensive heat in Europe coincide with late-season U.S. rain to imply reduced world wheat harvest size this year. (AgriFood Canada graphic)

"From early winterkill (U.S.), to crop loss in India, to too much rain in parts of the Southern Plains and eastern Midwest, to serious dry concerns in the northwestern Plains, western Canada and parts of Europe -- this year's wheat crop is facing many more challenges than a year ago and world production will be down this year," said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

In the U.S., issues for winter wheat in the Plains and Midwest have been well-covered. But, the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Prairies wheat crops are struggling with very dry and hot conditions. Temperatures from central Montana through Idaho, Oregon and Washington soared to values of 9 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit above normal during the week of June 25-July 1.

"The heat in June broke records in the Pacific Northwest. Precipitation has been at a record low as well," noted the weekly western U.S. weather summary by USDA's Natural Resource Conservation Service. "In Oregon, January-June precipitation is the lowest ever measured at many SNOTEL sites, with 35 years of record, such as at Mt. Hood. Lower-elevation weather sites, measured over 70 years, also are reporting record-low precipitation since the beginning of the year."

All-time heat for June in the Pacific Northwest includes these record-hot values: Pendleton, Oregon, 109 F; Yakima, Washington, 108 F; Helena, Montana, 103 F. And, Walla Walla notched the highest June reading in Washington state with 113 F.

In the Canadian Prairies, drought is an issue as well for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Alberta's soil moisture rates 71% fair to poor, with only 27% called "good." And, there is little improvement indicated in the forecast. "The upcoming weather pattern will continue to feature mostly isolated to scattered showers across the region every several days ... but without the needed widespread rains," said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Doug Webster. "This appears to be what we should expect for much of July."

Europe's wheat crop also faces a round of intense late-season heat. "Very high temperatures are pushing analysts to revise down their output expectations for Europe," the French consulting firm Agritel noted in a news release Thursday, July 2.

Prospects appear at least average in Ukraine and Russia, but even here, some dryness is taking the edge off wheat potential, noted the USDA weekly weather and crop bulletin for the week ending June 28. "Persistent heat (35-40 degrees Celsius) stressed late-developing winter wheat and summer crops in the southern Volga District, where yield prospects for winter wheat, spring wheat, and summer crops are notably worse than last year," the report said.

With the various issues nipping at the fringes of world wheat production, DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom believes the fundamental supply/demand scenario, taken by itself, is a neutral to bullish one for wheat.

"If, if, IF the U.S. dollar index ever extends its major downtrend, diminished U.S. wheat supplies might finally see some export interest," Newsom said.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 7:39AM CDT 07/08/15 by Bryce Anderson

Tuesday 07/07/15

Midsummer Weather Outlook - 2

OMAHA (DTN) -- In the world of ag market truisms, one of the most widely-quoted is this: Soybeans do not like wet feet. While some other sayings may have more to do with rhyme than reason, the soybean proverb has a solid botanical focus. Root rot and lack of nitrogen fixation can cause poor plant development and plant death after only a few days. The issue, of course, is that many soybean fields in the southern and eastern Midwest have been in this "water, water everywhere" calamity for more than two weeks.

Continued moderate to heavy rain is forecast for July across the Midwest. This favors crops in western areas, but will keep wet conditions in place over already-saturated eastern and southern portions. (Map courtesy NOAA)

The wet stress is taking its toll. The end-of-June DTN National Crop Condition Index for soybeans, at 154 points, is a notable 22 points below the end of June number in 2014. The most stressful reports were in states where flooding or very-wet fields remain a problem: Indiana, with 19% of its soybean acreage rated poor to very poor; Illinois, with 15% of soybeans rated poor to very poor; Missouri 17% poor to very poor, and Ohio with 16% rated poor to very poor. The historic aspect of rain in the past 30 days cannot be over stated. Illinois, for example, had its wettest June in 120 years of recordkeeping, dating back to 1895.

The problems are not just with developing soybeans, either. Total U.S. soybean planting is reported very close to average at 94% complete (average is 97%); however, Missouri is more than one-third behind average, with 38% of its intended soybean acreage still unplanted as of Sunday, June 28.

And, weather patterns remain biased toward generally cool and wet conditions during the first half of July. "More rain has been added to the forecast for southern portions of the eastern Midwest," said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Mike Palmerino. "Wet weather in the southern and eastern Midwest will disrupt any remaining soybean planting ... some soybean acreage will likely not get planted."

The prospect of both unplanted acreage and deterioration of crops already in the ground but now flooded or, later, to be encased in mud after the high water recedes, is helping cast a bullish posture for soybeans this midsummer, according to DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

"With more rain in the forecast and Missouri only 62% planted, it is reasonable for prices to be concerned about lower production estimates ahead and that is reinforcing this new uptrend in soybeans," Hultman said.

A USDA announcement of plans to re-survey planted acreage, due in part to wet-weather issues for soybean planting in Kansas and Missouri, bolsters Hultman's viewpoint. The revised acreage total is scheduled to be published on the Aug. 12 NASS report.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 6:34AM CDT 07/07/15 by Bryce Anderson

Thursday 07/02/15

Rainy Conditions for Corn Pollination

OMAHA (DTN) -- Thousands of acres of Midwest farmland are stuck in the mud as midsummer approaches, thanks to a stagnant upper-atmosphere pattern over North America.

A very wet spring and summer have fields from Missouri to Ohio threatened with loss of corn yield. (DTN photo by Bryce Anderson)

"We have seen a pattern featuring a blocking ridge (high pressure) over Alaska and far western Canada; a trough (low pressure) over central Canada; and another blocking ridge over Greenland in the northern jet stream through most of this season so far," said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Mike Palmerino. "And the southern branch of the jet stream features a trough in the eastern Pacific Ocean, a ridge over the western U.S., and another trough over the central and eastern U.S. There's also been subtropical high pressure over the southwestern U.S. The result is the frequent rain episodes that have focused their formation over the south and east Corn Belt."

The rains, helped out by an early tropical-season storm known as Bill, have done heavy-duty damage to all crops in the southern and eastern Midwest. A huge chunk of the Midwest (large portions of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio) was hit by rainfall exceeding 10 inches just during June.

Corn, which had a mostly favorable scenario for planting and early development, is now worse off than a year ago, according to both USDA weekly crop ratings and the DTN Crop Condition Index. As of Sunday, June 28, the DTN National Corn Index, at 164 points, was down 8 points from the previous week and is a full 20 points below the same week last year. "As expected, the worst conditions are in states where flooding has been a problem recently," said DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom. "Indiana (corn) was rated at 21% poor to very poor, and Missouri was at 17% poor to very poor."

Behind this outpouring of the heavens is a combination of last winter's pattern, with an extra boost brought in from El Nino. "We are seeing a weather pattern evolving that is quite similar to the persistent patterns of the mid and late winter into early spring ... a strong trough across central and east-central Canada while a strong ridge develops across the western U.S. poking northward into southwest Canada," said DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist Doug Webster. The old winter 2015 pattern effectively set the storm track over the eastern Midwest.

Now comes El Nino. As of late-June, equator-region waters in the Pacific Ocean approached differences from average as great as plus 3 degrees Celsius, values which have not been around since a very strong El Nino of 1997-98. The impact of El Nino-fueled southern-branch jet-stream action brings further impetus for storm development. Add in the ill-timed development of Tropical Storm Bill, and a corn crop that had very bright promise has had some bushels skimmed off. One estimate pegs Indiana row-crop loss already at $300 million.

The grain market has taken notice. December 2015 corn futures staged a 40-cent-plus rally during the week of June 21. "New-crop corn and soybean prices are showing new bullish behavior ... thanks largely to concerns of excess moisture," said DTN Analyst Todd Hultman.

The recent move higher in corn is a fundamental supportive item to a long-term technical indicator from harvest 2014, Newsom said. "The general consensus was that El Nino was going to provide near-ideal growing conditions this spring/summer, something the market, through futures spreads, never agreed with," Newsom said.

Forecasts for July maintain generally cool conditions with normal to above-normal precipitation. On the surface, that combination sounds favorable for good corn performance. But, the pulverizing rains of June in the Eastern Corn Belt have put a different spin on this prospect.

"There is no clear evidence that we're going to get GDDs (growing degree days)," said Nebraska state climatologist Al Dutcher. "Also -- at this point there are no comparisons to 1993. But, a lesson from 1993 is that too much rain is as bad as drought, with nitrogen loss with a sharp drop-off from excessive moisture."

Dutcher also said chances are better for the current trend of above-normal rainfall in the Corn Belt -- and, throughout much of the central U.S. -- to remain in effect.

"There is more opportunity for this pattern to continue than revert to hot and dry," Dutcher said.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Follow Bryce on Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 8:53AM CDT 07/02/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (1)
Drove from Michigan to Texas and back on two different routes and seen nothing but very poor corn and beans. There are small areas of good crops in Ark. and east Texas but thats about it. Along 57 in Ill. corn is small and in very bad condition,flooded,stunted corn everywhere you look. If we are to have trend-line yields of 165 bu. there better be alot of 300 bu. corn somewhere. Tenn. and Ky.were not as bad but not great. in real trouble from border to border.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 11:53AM CDT 07/06/15

Wednesday 07/01/15

Hit-and-Miss Showers for Western Canada

A weather pattern with many similarities to last winter covers North America at this time. A western North America ridge is bringing hot weather to the western U.S. and southwest Canada while cooler-than-normal readings cover central and eastern Canada into the Midwest.

(Map courtesy Ag Canada)

Like last winter precipitation is having a tough time covering the majority of the western Prairies while Manitoba is doing better. This upper air pattern may be being fueled by a large area of above normal sea surface temperatures across the Gulf of Alaska which has been in this location since late last summer.

The bad news is that for those suffering from severe dryness there does not appear to be any major shift in the overall weather pattern coming anytime soon. Hit-and-miss showers have dotted the landscape during the recent weeks, giving a small percentage of Alberta and Saskatchewan some beneficial rains, but for most dryness continues to build, delaying crop progress.

During the past month most of the region has seen much less rainfall than needed for crop development, but far southern Manitoba as well as a couple of small pockets of central Saskatchewan and western Alberta have seen excess rains. The spotty nature of the rains is generally what we see during the summer season as showers develop in a local nature. The large-scale precipitation patterns of winter are typically associated with low pressure areas and overrunning precipitation. At this time of year these systems are crossing northern Canada most of the time.

The latest soil moisture reports from Alberta are showing 71% of the province is now seeing surface soil moisture levels in the fair to poor category and only 27% good. Dry weather across Saskatchewan during the growing season is delaying an increasing amount of crops. Across Manitoba conditions are better, with dry conditions covering central and south-central areas while it is actually too wet across far southern areas where recent storms have done some spotty damage.

The upcoming weather pattern will continue to feature mostly isolated to scattered showers across the region every several days as fronts cross the region but without the needed widespread rains. This appears to be what we should expect for much of July.

Temperatures will undergo a cool down this weekend into early next week which may help a little but most indicators point toward a revival of the western North America ridge later next week and into mid-July which may cause hot weather to return to western areas of the Prairies.

Doug Webster can be reached at

Posted at 11:22AM CDT 07/01/15 by Doug Webster

Friday 06/26/15

Hope For Crops In Extended Forecast

Warranted or not, there has been trade talk this week about the heavy rains and flooding in the southern and eastern Corn Belt --associated acreage and crop condition effect--and subsequent references to the last time rain compromised crop conditions so late in the season, 1993.

Total rainfall in the Midwest the week of July 7-10 has a drier trend, which would be welcome for crops. (NOAA Graphic)

In looking at the two seasons, it's very apparent that the brunt of the 1993 flood year's crop impact was borne byIowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Back then, for the week ending June 27, 1993, Iowa's good to excellent corn rating total amounted to just 34 percent. Minnesota's corn rating that week was even lower, at only 17 percent good to excellent. Minnesota also had 24 percent of its corn rated poor to very poor. In 2015, Iowa's corn rating for the week ending June 21 was 83 percent good to excellent, with Minnesota at 80 percent good to excellent. Soybean conditiions displayed a similar contrast.

This year, the wet-weather issues going into midsummer are largely focused over the southern and easternMidwest--specifically southeastern Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. We've seen heavy rain and flooding in other locales as well, notably in Nebraska and Kansas--but the pummeling of the gut area of the Midwest is the trade-sensitive weather feature.

Now comes the big question, which is--"Will this wet pattern hang on through July?" Well--the U.S. GFS forecast model is leaning toward a drier trend following Wednesday, July 1. That's not to say we don't see rain in the soggy southern half of the Midwest, but these huge, monsoon-like events do not appear on the charts for the six to 14-day period ending Friday, July 10. That would certainly be a benefit to the wet southern half of the Midwest.

As for yield potential--DTN contributing analyst Joel Karlin will post a blog next week on what happens with corn yields in years when the month of June is wet. And he found that since 1970, there have been 20 months of June that have had heavy rains, and only 7 of those seasons had corn yield below trend line. Even the five wettest-June years (with June rainfall of more than 7.62 inches) saw average yields that met trend line. So, for production purposes, it's not time to write the crop off yet.


Twitter @BAndersonDTN


Posted at 1:37PM CDT 06/26/15 by Bryce Anderson
Comments (10) you need to take a ride in your car boy
Posted by DOUG FLAGEOLE at 8:41PM CDT 06/27/15
I printed this off so I don't forget. You guys need to get out of the office.
Posted by Unknown at 12:58AM CDT 06/28/15
Still believing in rain makes grain
Posted by MICAH SAMSON at 7:04AM CDT 06/28/15
In other words, one out of three wet Junes resulted in lower than trend yields. Sounds more significant in those terms.
Posted by TOM DRAPER at 8:38PM CDT 06/28/15
Global wetting
Posted by ELDON HAISCH at 9:03PM CDT 06/28/15
Thank you for this analysis. This is type of info we need to make marketing plans. We have a nice rally.
Posted by Unknown at 10:09PM CDT 06/28/15
Seven-day forecast charts Monday June 29 suggest 2-3+ inch totals again in the Ohio Valley-Missouri Bootheel-Tennessee Valley, but lesser amounts elsewhere, tops of 1.5 inches in Iowa/Minnesota/northern and central Illinois.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 5:37AM CDT 06/29/15
Had a great start in May with little rain and wishing for a drop of water. Now we need the tap turned off 8 inches in one week is starting to effect crops. Some fields haven't even been planted in southwestern Ontario
Posted by EDWIN BOLTON at 6:36AM CDT 06/29/15
Crops look like crap along 57 and 55 in Ill. Knee high yellow corn until you get to Ark. Lots of unplanted acres. I will be waiting to price crops.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 10:19AM CDT 06/29/15
Thanks for comments. The first article in the DTN Midsummer Weather Outlook series will be posted Wednesday July 1st.
Posted by Bryce Anderson at 5:28AM CDT 07/01/15

Thursday 06/25/15

Higher Temperatures, More Dryness for Canada's Prairies

The long days of summer are in place, but we are seeing a weather pattern evolving that is quite similar to the persistent patterns of the mid and late winter into early spring. This pattern that is developing will feature a strong trough across central and east-central Canada while a strong ridge develops across the western U.S. poking northward into southwest Canada.

(Graphic courtesy of NOAA)

Despite an upper air pattern looking like February, we are not expecting winter weather to be attached to this pattern. We will see some of the same anomalies as we saw during the late winter, namely drier-than-normal conditions and above-normal temperatures during the remainder of June and into at least the first week of July.

The hope of some widespread beneficial rainfall for the dried out central and western Prairies will be minimal at best during the next 10 days and the additional problem of high temperatures are likely to be added to the equation as well. Like last winter, when the western Prairies saw the highest temperature anomalies and Manitoba saw readings a little lower at times, the summer version should produce similar results.

Temperatures could reach as high as 35 to 40 degrees Celsius (95 to 104 Fahrenheit) for some parts of southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan during the next five days while readings across Manitoba run close to normal. Rainfall looks spotty at best out west, with Manitoba more in line for a few showers once in a while.

As we move to the middle and end of next week, we might see a modest opportunity for some scattered showers across the northern Prairies as a front drops southward, but this system does not look like a beneficial rain producer. During the past week, we have seen some spotty showers across Western Canada with local areas seeing some help to soil moisture content. The spotty nature of last week's rains have helped a few, but left most without much help.

The cause of the persistent dry weather pattern could be tied to the large area of warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures across the eastern Pacific and Gulf of Alaska. This large area of warmer-than-normal waters has been in about the same location since last fall and some think has helped with the prevailing ridge through western North America. Today's SST anomaly analysis shows more of what we have seen for many of the past several months and in fact some intensification of the warm waters has been noted during the past month.

While there are many factors that cause and create the weather patterns around the globe at any given time, it appears that this warm blob of water through the Gulf of Alaska may be an important factor in producing the dryness for Western Canada. Given its persistence we unfortunately have to favor the idea of above-normal dryness for the critical next few weeks of crop development period. Temperatures are most likely to be higher across the west than across Manitoba, with rainfall more spotty for the west than across the east. Given this forecast, we will probably see increasing coverage of crop stress and even failure due to dry conditions.

Doug Webster can be reached at

Posted at 10:57AM CDT 06/25/15 by Doug Webster

Friday 06/19/15

2015 Wet So Far, But Nothing Like 1993

OMAHA (DTN) -- Mike Carlson remembers 1993 and its severe flooding that damaged many crops that year. The Red Oak, Iowa, farmer said while the 2015 growing season has produced much rain on his southwest Iowa farm so far, it really does not compare to 1993.

Flooding in a Texas sorghum field in 2015. Weather experts say this year doesn't quite compare to the 1993 growing season flooding. (DTN file photo by Emily Unglesbee)

"It's not as wet as 1993, at least not yet," Carlson told DTN on Wednesday. "We had about 14 inches of rain in May and June so far. We only planted just four days in May, so the crop is behind."


The Great Flood of 1993 is the recent measuring stick used to assess other wet years. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 1993 flood inundated more than 20 million acres in nine states, with both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers flooding. Losses were estimated to be $15 billion to $20 billion.

This year's nearly constant growing-season precipitation in many areas reminds some of 1993. While the 2015 growing season has been wet so far, weather experts say it is not comparable to 1993.

The flood of 1993 actually started in the fall of 1992 with above-normal precipitation in the Missouri and Mississippi river basins, according to Missouri State Climatologist Pat Guinan. This trend continued through the following winter and spring, he said.

"Essentially, the stage was set for major flooding across both basins for the summer of '93 if the wet pattern continued, and indeed that was the case," Guinan said.

Dennis Todey, South Dakota state climatologist, said the flooding along the major rivers in 1993 was due to winter snow melt and spring precipitation that primed the hydrologic situation, particularly in the north. Then heavy rains were dumped on top of this saturation all across the basins, he said.

"This year (2015) is very different," Todey said. "The only snow-induced flooding is in Colorado and Nebraska along the Platte River. The rest is just heavy rains."

Todey did acknowledge a few 2015 Corn Belt weather details have been similar 1993. Some areas have extremely wet field conditions and farmers have not been able to finish spring planting, something which also occurred in 1993.

However, in 2015, there are also large areas of the northern Corn Belt that are wet to just moist. These regions have not been having nearly the same issues they had in 1993, he said.

Doug Kluck, Central Region Climate Services director for NOAA's National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) located in Kansas City, said he agrees 2015 does not compare to 1993. While east Texas is seeing heavy rains and flooding this year, the major rivers are not threatening to flood (at least not at this writing) which did happen in 1993.

"The outlooks do continue the same general cool and wetness for the area, but I don't see the 'big river' threat yet," Kluck said. "All that said, I'm guessing some crops could really use some sun and heat to crank up maturation."


In the Eastern Corn Belt, Jason Scott watched the Wabash River fill quickly with heavy rains earlier this week. The farmer from Burrows, Indiana, in the north-central part of the state, saw about 8 inches of rainfall push the river to near flood stage.

"Earlier this spring was somewhat wet but not to this extreme; it finally caught up with us this week," Scott told DTN. "We were able to get a soaker and dry out, but it's so frequent that it just keeps ponding. The Wabash River is as high as I've ever seen it."

The rains caused water to pond on his area's fields, Scott said. There are many 2- to 8-acre ponds in the low areas of fields. The rains have fallen in 0.5-inch to 1.8-inch intervals, he estimated, so there have not been bad gullies.

But the moisture is starting to take a toll on the region's crops.

"The low holes are gone," he said. "Beans are totally underwater and the corn is turning yellow and dying."

Carlson, the southwest Iowa farmer, said that in his locale, the good spots in fields still have potential to produce a high-yielding crop, but the wet spots are large and getting bigger with every rain.

"Water is just running everywhere now after last week's rains," Carlson said. "It is just oozing out of the side hills."

Carlson also said it needs to keep raining, as many corn and soybean plants will develop shorter root systems since the roots do not have to move far in the soil to find moisture. A dry stretch of weather after these wet conditions would be bad news for plants with limited roots, he said.

Russ Quinn can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @RussQuinnDTN


Posted at 4:56PM CDT 06/19/15 by Russ Quinn
Comments (4)
East Central Missouri is much worse than 1993. It doesn't matter what direction the rain comes from it all hits Montgomery County. We pour 2" to 4" out of our rain gauges about every other day. Farming is over for this Spring. RW
Posted by RUSSEL WINTER at 11:04AM CDT 06/21/15
2015 or 1993. Get real. 1993- Harvested 70 bu. wheat June 15. 2015- 80 bu. wheat flat and rotting in field- June 22 2015- 21 inches rain in May, 2015. 2015- 14 inches rain and still raining -June 22, 2015. 2015- No wheat left worth cutting, if we could cut today. 2015 Custom Cutters have all gone north will come back thru on the way to South Texas, in July, maybe Stats NEVER tell the REAL story. Look on Facebook about Red River flooding on Texas/Ok border, if you have any doubts about our rain problems.
Posted by Tom Stockard at 8:14AM CDT 06/22/15
Just because the city of Des Moines isn't flooded doesn't mean its nothing like 93.
Posted by Unknown at 2:52PM CDT 06/22/15
Flew to central Indiana yesterday, crops there are exactly like what I saw in '93 - short, yellow and standing in ponds. From the air we could see every tile line as a narrow streak of green, but in-between was yellow. They said NW Indiana was worse. Back in Eastern Iowa I'm now up to 9 inches of rain in the past two weeks - beans are turning yellow.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:21AM CDT 06/25/15
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