In addition to the adverse drought forecast impact on wheat, soil moisture for row crops and pastures is lacking ahead of spring planting and the green-up phase.
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“There is a lack of moisture in the deep soil profiles from last year’s (2020) drought,” Bolinger said. “We are also likely to have a shortage of adequate pasture and forage in the drought-hit areas.”
Fire danger is also high going into spring due to a lack of moisture. “There is a high fire danger on the Plains this spring,” Bolinger noted.
Such a forecast is no surprise. “Large fire years coincide with drought years. We would expect that areas with low snowpack have a risk of large wildfires this season. There is a bigger risk if there’s an early melting of the snowpack” she said.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles west of the central U.S., a La Nina Pacific Ocean temperature and atmosphere event is expected to stay around through the growing season. La Nina began during the 2020 summer with a very dry effect on the U.S. corn and soybean crops. Forecast models call for La Nina to fade briefly during the spring, but to return during the summer. “This has happened before, where we get a double-dip of the La Nina event,” said NOAA Regional Manager Doug Kluck. The La Nina influence is key to the forecast projections.
In contrast to the Western Corn Belt, spring forecast precipitation is higher in the Eastern Corn Belt. The risk of flooding is also higher in the mid-Mississippi and Ohio River valleys.
“Those areas are more likely to see flooding with higher stream flows, not as dry soils and increased precipitation,” Bolinger said.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter @BAndersonDTN
(c) Copyright 2021 DTN, LLC. All rights reserved.
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