April showers have left area farmers sidelined from getting an early jump on the 2014 planting season, but most farmers are welcoming the rain.
“We are pretty close to typical for this time of year,” said state climatologist Harry Hillaker. “On the rainfall end of things, Creston is pretty close to normal, mostly because of the heavy rain that went through the area the weekend before last (April 13-14). Since then, it has rained more frequently, but it has been relatively light rains.”
Hillaker said almost the entire state has experienced decent amounts of rainfall during April, which is a sharp contrast to the start of 2014.
The temperature is also close to average, Hillaker said, staying within one degree of typical April weather.
Wayde Ross, district conservationist for National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Creston, said the soils have not had a chance to warm up to ideal temperatures for planting corn.
“With the colder weather to start the year and the ground temperatures as cool as they are, the only people that are really trying to hurry to get in the fields are farmers that have a lot of acres to plant,” Ross said.
The ideal soil temperature for corn is in the upper 50s or lower 60s. Ross said the current soil temperatures in the area are around 55 degrees.
“We haven’t had very many warm days in a row to help bring the soil temperature up,” Ross said. “These rains have been cold, and the temperature is still getting pretty low at night, which keeps cooling off the soil.”
Ross said the subsoil is still very dry, but the topsoil is “powdery,” making it difficult for farmers to set the pressure on their planters.
“We are hoping this rain will help settle the topsoil down a bit,” Ross said.
The forecast for today shows a slow moving system over the Creston News Advertiser coverage area. There is a chance for isolated thunderstorms through the afternoon.
“We have a slight break from the rain Friday and it looks like some pretty nice days to start the weekend,” Hillaker said. “It also looks like it will be fairly windy, which will dry things out in a hurry.”
Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 30 mph over the weekend with temperatures reaching the 70s.
More rain is predicted Saturday night through Monday night as a slow moving storm system makes its way across the state.
Hillaker said the exact path of the expected rain showers are not certain, but the chance for severe weather is pretty low.
Ross said most state agronomists are looking at May 1 as a target date for soil temperatures to be ideal for farmers to start the bulk of their planting.
“Right now, we will take all the rain we can get,” Ross said.