At this time of year, a band of deep Kelly green should spread from Ohio to North Dakota as corn and soybeans race to pack on size before they pollinate and bear fruit. But 2019’s unprecedented rains have uprooted the typical course of events. Some crops are waterlogged and stunted. Others won’t be planted at all.
Heavy storms the week ending July 3 resulted in improved moisture conditions and marginally reduced field activity while heat units continued to push crop development, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Mountain Regional Field Office, Colorado. In addition to locally heavy precipitation, reporters observed numerous hail producing storms in eastern counties. Consequently, localized hail damage to crops was noted in multiple counties in eastern Colorado.
Much-needed precipitation through the U.S. heartland this year has replenished soil moisture, refilled ponds and promises to boost crop yields, thanks to the weather phenomenon known as El Niño, according to Iowa State University agricultural climatologist. And the benefits for the Midwest may continue into 2016. El Niño is associated with a warming of Pacific Ocean water, and tends to bring warmer, drier conditions to the northwest United States and cooler, wetter conditions to the Plains.
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