The dry U.S. Plains Hard Red Winter wheat crop will receive little rain over the next week, adding more stress to young plants ahead of winter, a forecaster said Dec. 6.
Very light rains of a trace to a few hundredths of an inch were expected for Dec. 7, then the Plains will be dry through the rest of the week, he said.
“The crop is in pretty tough shape,” said Mike Palmerino, a forecaster with Telvent DTN. “The longer it goes without moisture, the harder it is going to be on the crop this spring, especially if La Nińa continues.”
The southern U.S. Plains have been abnormally dry this fall, a fallout from La Nińa – a weather phenomenon that occurs every three to four years and is characterized by cooler sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. The western Plains region – western Kansas, eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska – is the driest.
The next chance of precipitation will come on Dec. 11, but the amounts will be light – less than 0.25 inch in the western areas and 0.25 to 0.5 inch in the east.
Fluctuating temperatures also add stress, Palmerino said. Lows reached -9 C on Dec. 6 morning, a sharp contrast to the previous week, when highs reached the low 20s.
The six-to 10-day outlook for the Plain called for normal to below-normal temperatures early in the period, warming to normal to above later. Precipitation was expected to be below normal.