WASHINGTON — Corn planting in the US is underway for all but one key producing state. South Dakota is the only state, as of earlier this week, that had not started planting this season’s corn crop. Even North Dakota, which received snow earlier this week, had recorded 1% planting progress. The national planting progress sits around 15% complete, exactly in line with last year, but trailing the 5-year average of 27%. While most states trail their 5-year averages, Illinois is one of the furthest behind their average planting pace. Only 9% of the crop has been planted thus far, nearly five times less than the 5-year average of 43%.
It’s no surprise that planting progress is behind schedule, though. Two strong spring storms caused major flooding for many Midwestern and Upper Plains states, some of which is still ongoing. Many river gauges along the Mississippi River at near or above flood stage. Most gauges that are still reporting major flooding along the Mississippi are located along the Illinois and Iowa/Missouri border. Within Illinois, moderate to major flooding is reported along many areas of the Illinois River and many other waterways are reporting minor flooding. As of writing, numerous watches, warnings, and advisories for flooding and flash flooding were active for much of Illinois and Missouri.
Rains are expected today, Thursday 5/2, from northeastern Texas through Illinois and into Ohio. While the heaviest of rainfall is expected in Texas, Arkansas, and southern Missouri, the additional precipitation will only further exacerbate the flooding occurring through much of the Midwest. Some lighter rains may stick around into Friday for Illinois, but much of the moisture will move further east into Indiana, Ohio, and the interior Northeast. For Saturday, some rain is once again expected for portions of the Midwest, although northern IL and IN could miss out and finally see a dry day. By Sunday, much of the moisture will have lifted out of the Midwest but not for very long. Next week, conditions are expected to trend wetter than normal across much of the country, with many Central and Midwestern states seeing an inch or two of rainfall.
The overall outlook for May does not support very favorable planting conditions for the Corn Belt. Last year, near or record-breaking warmth was recorded for many states across the Midwest. This year, the weather pattern supports cooler and wetter trends through May for the Midwest and Northern Plains, while the Southeast sees the warmer temperatures. Although the Southeast many see the warmth, above normal precipitation is still expected across the region.
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