Corn Belt Seen Remaining Cold by Martell After Sixth Chilly Week

The U.S. Midwest corn belt was colder than usual for a sixth week, with temperatures last week an average 36.2 degrees Fahrenheit (2.3 degrees Celsius), Martell Crop Projections said.

Temperatures, which were 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit below average last week, are forecast to remain “much colder” than normal this week, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin-based Martell wrote in an e-mailed report today.

March temperatures in the corn belt averaged 37.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 4.5 degrees below the long-term mean and among the coldest 10 percent for the month on record, according to the forecaster.

“Abnormal and extreme weather is always bad for crops,” Martell wrote. “Late April and early May is the ideal time for corn planting, but is not apt to happen this spring.”

Severe planting delays for corn would create a potential threat of freeze damage, and farmers in the northern Midwest would have to substitute short-cycle corn for higher-yielding full-season corn, according to Martell.

“The common belief among producers is that early seeding dates provide the best chances for a bumper yield,” Martell wrote. “The new forecast perpetuates the cold in the U.S. heartland and Canada.”

Temperatures are predicted to be 6 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit colder than normal in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes area, while “less extreme cold” is expected in Iowa and Nebraska in the western corn belt, Martell said.

Iowa and Nebraska may get more than 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) of rain in the six days through April 11 from a wet pattern caused by a low-pressure area, the forecaster said.

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