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(Bloomberg) -- U.S. farmers will be able to plant corn and soybeans as much as three week earlier than usual from North Dakota to western Illinois, with much of the rest of the Midwest able to plant two weeks early, according to Planalytics Inc.
Warm ocean temperatures and reduced sunspot activity increase the odds for a warm, dry pattern from March through May, said Fred Gesser, the senior agricultural meteorologist for Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based Planalytics. The conditions will help to firm soils, allowing access for heavy farm machinery and for growers to apply fertilizer and prepare fields for seeding.
“We are optimistic for an early planting season this year with no extension of the winter,” Gesser said Friday in a telephone interview.
Corn futures tumbled 43 percent in the previous two years amid record harvests in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower. Mild summer weather helped increase yields last season, even after planting began about a month late in some regions because of wet, cold weather in March and April. Planalytics will update its planting forecast on Feb. 25 and start estimates for corn and soybean yields by early June.
Some areas from Louisiana to Tennessee may be wet and cool this spring, without causing significant planting delays, Gesser said.
Drier weather from Kansas to Minnesota in the next three months will be monitored closely since fields have lacked moisture starting from Oct. 1, Gesser said. Ratings for winter- wheat crops in Kansas, the top U.S. grower, declined in January, government data show.
Rains the next week in California won’t be enough to stem the impact of severe drought plaguing fields, Gesser said. Most of the precipitation will fall as rain and fail to boost the snow pack in the mountains needed to refill reservoirs for the June to August growing period, he said. Relief for agriculture producers won’t come until December, when the odds increase for a stronger El Nino influence and subsequent snow, he said.
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