Weather Outlook for Summer 2016 - Monday, 16 May 2016

Over the weekend the Midwest had a cold front push through and into the Great Lakes bringing record low temperatures.  Record lows were found Saturday morning from Kansas City, MO (40 degrees F) to Grand Forks, ND (23 degrees F).  There were also reports of snow in parts of Wisconsin, Michigan, northeast Ohio, northwest Pennsylvania and New York.  I am always interested in and looking for information to share with you regarding the weather forecasts both short and long-term outlooks.  In my February 4th, 2016 newsletter I had the following weather predictions from Bill Kirk owner of Weather Trends 360.  At the time I debated whether to include the information or not because it seemed rather far- fetched at the time, last week though as I was hearing the chances for frost I was reminded of this forecast.  Below is a copy of that part of the Feb 4th newsletter.

Bill Kirk, a weather statistician and the owner of Weather Trends 360, contends that corn prices could hit the $6.50 to $7.00 range this summer.  At the Top Producer Seminar in Chicago he presented what factors he believes could take corn prices back to much higher levels. 

  • He believes that we will see a wet spring across a majority of the country which could delay planting all thanks to El Niño. 
  • A freeze in late May is likely.
  • He expects the current El Niño to dissipate and a La Niña to form which will bring very dry weather soon after the crop is planted causing drought stress in June and July. 
  • From June 26th until July 9th he expects an extreme heat-wave which could hurt pollination if it falls during this time-frame.
  • The forecast doesn’t improve, he expects a frost in late September and a frigid fall.

Appears that the first prediction is fairly accurate as you look at the upcoming rainfall forecast for May 15-May 20th and look back over the past several weeks for many areas to our south and east.  The second prediction calling for a freeze in late May has occurred, it arrived a bit earlier than anticipated but was otherwise correct. 

 

The following map shows the rainfall totals for the past 30 days.

According to Bill Kirk, “you don’t need the government to officially say its La Niña to have La Niña weather conditions set up as they’re already starting to do.  NOAA needs to see cold surface anomalies for 3 straight months before they declare it’s a La Niña so expect that (prediction from NOAA) by August.”  He emphasizes that we need only look a 100 feet below the surface of the Pacific to find colder than normal water and a quickly subsiding El Niño (the big ones usually do).  In the maps below the blue indicates water 100 feet deep that is -2 to -4 degrees C colder than normal.  You can tell from the readings taken on January 29th compared to April 8th that an impressive expansion of the cool water temps has occurred and over a rather short period of time.  In addition the typical El Niño westerly winds have already turned into a La Niña easterly direction so “the La Niña weather pattern is taking shape as we speak.  Brazil will say it’s already here!!”  Kirk also stressed “the pattern they’ve had there (Brazil) is eerily similar to what we expect in the U.S. Corn Belt this season and next year.  This is the start of a 2-year drought cycle across the Americas and a classic La Niña pattern.”  During pollination this crop season, Brazil experienced the hottest temperatures in the last 9 to 11 years, and the second hottest temps in 25 years. To add further damage, they have not been this dry in 7 years. Regardless of what happens with their weather throughout the remainder of the growing season the damage caused from extreme temps and dry conditions is done.  Kirk estimates producers there will likely find a 15% reduction in yields as a result of the stress put on the plant at such a critical time period.  Kirk predicts similar conditions in the U.S.  He is expecting that during the critical 6-week pollination period temps will soar.  June 15 through June 30th we will see temperatures reach 90 to 100 degrees F followed with the 2nd hottest July in 25 years coupled with 25% less rainfall than average. 



The last two bullet points from the February newsletter still remain to be seen time will tell the overall accuracy of this forecast.

With temps falling below freezing this past weekend here are some important reminders as you inspect your fields for damage.

CORN-generally speaking all plant parts that are above the soil surface when freezing temps arrive will likely be killed.  Right now most corn is in the VE-V2 stage which means the growing point is still below the ground and is mostly protected from the cold and should re-grow.  Corn should bounce back quite easily, the amount of yield loss from this type of event is unclear.  There are some sources reporting that this type of damage early will cause little yield loss in most cases, other sources have indicated that the corn will produce -17 bushels less per acre than if this had not occurred.  Keep in mind that there may be some unevenness in crop size for a while as well as a chance of new growth getting wrapped up in old, dead tissue but all of that should disappear by V5-V7.

 SOYBEANS- are much more fragile than corn.  As you scout your fields for damage check to see if they have a discolored hypocotyl (hook) and a water soaked cotyledon, if you find those signs the plant is likely dead.

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