While the South will be right on schedule weather-wise for prime planting with looming frost concerns, delays will become more and more likely with every mile heading north.
Frozen Ground, Soil to Create Delays
Coming off a frigid, snow-filled winter for areas from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley and Northeast, spring will shape up to be mostly cool and wet.
“Damp soil leftover from winter, melting snow and lagging temperatures mean a lot of places are going to have a slow planting period across the Midwest, northern Plains and the Great Lakes,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler said.
“Soil temperatures must be warm enough to support whatever crop you are planting,” Mohler said. “For corn that’s 50 F or above and for soybeans it’s 54 F or above.”
Mounting Drought Concerns
With the wet season ending, this spring will be the second in a row with a severe for the areas from western Texas through central California, the extreme dryness will take a toll on the planting season.
“In late April to May, temperatures between 90F and 100F will be seen in the Sacramento Valley,” Pastelok said.
Due to the severity of the drought, especially in California, water restrictions may be placed on farmers. To date there are no mandatory water restrictions on farmers.
As April is an essential month for wine growers with their grape vines awakening from their dormant stage, growers have immense water needs during this time period. With water restrictions in place, many could experience a significantly reduced crop this season due to the lack of available water resources alongside of the parched ground.
“The soil moisture will not be very deep so it will get used up fast,” Mohler said. “They (growers) are going to have problems into the summer because there is too little moisture to last through the hot summer months.”
As the leading state for the production of almonds, artichokes, grapes, kiwi, olives, peaches, pomegranates, rice and walnuts, the result of the drought in California may also impact every state across the U.S., as prices for produce rise.