A look at the long-range summer forecast

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Planting problems are generally behind us and next week USDA will release the annual Acreage report. Now everyone’s attention turns to summer weather. This week the National Weather Service updated its 30-day and 90-day weather forecasts. The forecasts aren’t all that helpful. The maps show equal chances of above and below normal temperatures over the next 30 days for most of the corn and soybean growing areas of the country. The forecast suggests pretty normal precipitation over the next month for the Corn Belt as well, but it looks wetter than normal in the Southeastern U.S. The 30-day June forecast in 2012 accurately predicted hot and dry weather over the key growing region of the country.

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The 90-day forecast maps show it will be warmer than normal over the western half of the country but there is no clear forecast of above normal temperatures over the Midwest. The 90-day precipitation map shows that it stays wet in the Southeast states, but there is an equal chance of above or below precipitation over the heartland. Drier than normal weather is indicated for the Southern Plains and the Pacific Northwest over the next three months.

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The weather over the past month has caused the drought area to shrink. In mid-May essentially all of Nebraska was experiencing severe to extreme drought. The latest map shows the area of extreme drought about one-third the size it was in May and the eastern half of the state mostly just “abnormally dry”. Severe to extreme drought conditions have essentially been eliminated from South Dakota and almost all drought conditions are gone in Minnesota. The Drought Outlook map shows continued improvement along the eastern edge of the Plains states. Drought conditions improve for eastern Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. At least based on these forecasts it does not look like we will see a return to the very hot and dry weather that developed over the summer of 2012.

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