Extension Crop Reports and the Weather Forecast

Extension Crop Reports and the Weather Forecast

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Gary Stone, Extension Educator, Panhandle REC, Scottsbluff: Winter wheat looks good and progress is normal. Rangeland still looks a little tough and could use water.  Sugar beets are 90% planted and corn is 50% done. Temperatures are still somewhat cool.

Jeff Bradshaw, Entomologist at the Panhandle REC: Miller moths (the adult form of army cutworms) are appearing, an indication that army cutworm feeding in alfalfa and wheat should decrease. Otherwise conditions have been fairly cool and there's been little insect activity.

John Thomas, Extension Educator, Box Butte County: It's been a good spring for winter wheat, which is starting to joint. Corn is 20%-25% planted. Sugarbeets are generally in and most potatoes are in.

Ron Seymour, Extension Educator, Adams County: We got 2 inches of rain last week and planting has been going strong since Friday-Saturday. Corn planting is 50-60% complete; soybean planting is underway.

Jenny Rees, Extension Educator, Clay County: Most growers are finishing up corn planting and switching to soybean. Wheat jointed over the weekend in the area. A lot of growers here held off on corn planting and watched soil temperatures and rain predictions to determine planting date.

Todd Whitney, Extension Educator, Hall County: Most farmers had good success with planting the last few days. More than half the corn and one-third of the soybeans are in.

Gary Zoubek, Extension Educator, York County: Growers are 60-70% done planting corn and are starting beans. Wheat, which is limited in this area, isn't jointing yet. It'll probably be another week.

Michael Rethwisch, Extension Educator, Butler County: We also got good rains last week, which kept growers out of the field for three to four days. Alfalfa looked pretty tough two to three weeks ago, but with the rain is really growing. Some growers will take their first cutting in two weeks. Smooth brome hay looks really, really good. We installed black cutworm pheromone traps and are posting the information on the UNL Extension website for Butler County. There have been several flights across the county in the last week with two to three captures per night. Growers will need to scout for black and variegated cutworms.

Tom Hunt, Extension Entomologist, Northeast REC:  A lot of planting is underway, primarily corn. The bottomlands are too wet to plant. Alfalfa is looking really good.

John Wilson, Extension Educator, Burt County: We've gotten good rains in the last week. About 65%-75% of the corn has been planted and some is spiking through. Most everyone is trying to finish up corn before possible rains later this week.

Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator, Nemaha County: Planting is hot and heavy here with 75% of corn and 25% of soybean planting done. A lot of smaller producers are done with corn.  We got 1.5 -2 inches of rain last week and some corn is coming up. We have very little wheat, but what we have looks good. It's not quite jointed. Alfalfa looks good but is slow in growing too. Pastures are similar.

Weather Forecast

Al Dutcher, Nebraska State Climatologist:  Snowpack is just starting its annual melt and is still running impressive snow water-equivalent values.

  • North central Colorado (northern section of the Platte) is running at 130% of normal.
  • South central Colorado is running at 118% of normal.
  • Laramie: 140%+ of normal

Snowmelt, like most weather-dependent things, is later than usual this spring. With the current forecasts, we should firmly hold snowpack well into the end of May. With normal progression of temperatures going forward, we could see runoff values in north central Colorado of 10,000 cfs. This isn't likely to have much immediate impact in Nebraska.  There will be some water transfers this spring (to make up for water borrowed last year) so it's difficult to estimate where reservoir levels will end up.  Overall, reservoirs are likely to move from 55% capacity to about 75% or 85% of capacity with some spillover possible into Lake McConaughy to improve its level.

Based on the National Weather Service prediction, expect severe thunderstorms in the northern Panhandle Wednesday night through Thursday with colder air moving in Thursday. As this weather moves toward northeast Nebraska, it will become less aggressive with less moisture and scattered storms.  A second system is forecasted to bring significant moisture to the Panhandle and eastern sections of Nebraska this Sunday. Precipitation should range from 0.5 to over 2 inches. When the two systems are combined, the northern Panhandle is likely to get 4 inches or more of moisture within the seven-day period. The southern Panhandle will get less rain. Scottsbluff could see 2.5 inches.

There is little agreement among the models; however it appears that for May 11-23 eastern Nebraska could see normal to below normal temperatures and western Nebraska could see above normal temperatures.  Expect to see additional weather systems with moisture May 15, 18, 20, and 22; some of these could provide significant precipitation although it may not be widespread.
While the recent rains have been helpful, over the last four months many areas have accumulated deficits. The Panhandle is showing surpluses, while the southwest, southeast, and northeast are showing deficits. The greatest concern is for southwest Nebraska, which is least likely to see moisture from these upcoming events.

It's easy to accumulate a deficit with a week of dry weather. For central and eastern Nebraska, a week without precipitation can mean a deficit of 1 inch. In western Nebraska, it can mean a deficit of 0.5 to 0.75 inches. However, at this point in the season, these deficits could be made up in two events. Missing a few events could increase the deficits rather dramatically.

Average corn emergence is 7 days in a normal year, 10 days in colder conditions. It will be just two weeks until corn starts using more water on a daily basis. While the crop is not extracting much soil moisture, this is a good time to effectively build decent subsoil moisture.


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