Unsurprisingly, the spurt of dry and warm, summer-like weather earlier in April helped to get corn planting off to an early start. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, as of April 16, 2023, 8% of corn was planted, which is ahead of the five-year average of 5%. Planting took place not just across southern parts of the United States, but as far north as Iowa and Illinois which planted 7% and 10% of their corn, respectively.
This is a healthy jump from last year when none of the corn crop was planted as of April 16, 2022.
The favorable weather conditions waned in the third week of April, week-ending April 22. However, this was the warmest third week of April in four years for the Corn Belt, this was still the 11th coldest third week of April in 30+ years, according to data from WeatherTrends360. An early week storm brought heavy snow to the Upper Midwest, including over a foot of snow to parts of western Wisconsin. A cold front swung through the Corn Belt by the end of the week bringing widespread frost and freeze to the region.
Colder than normal temperatures will continue into the final week of April, week-ending April 29th. According to forecasts from WeatherTrends360, this will be the 3rd coldest final week of April in 30+ years for the Corn Belt. The front half of the week will see the coldest weather with temperatures rebounding closer to normal later in the week. The cold weather and continued risk of frost and freeze will slow the warming of soils.
On the bright side, the storm track should be shunted farther south in the final week of April, allowing soil to dry. For the Corn Belt as a whole, this is forecast to be the 8th driest final week of April in 30+ years. The northern Plains and Upper Midwest could use the drier weather as flooding from snowmelt continues across the region.
Additionally, with the storm track expected to be farther south this week, there is an increased chance of precipitation across drought-stricken areas of the southern Plains, including parts of the hard red winter wheat-producing area. However, the damage is already done for crop conditions rated poor to very poor.