More cool and wet weather across South Dakota are likely this summer, according to the latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center of NOAA.
"This condition will have some interesting implications for South Dakota and the region particularly because of the cool spring," said Dennis Todey, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.
Although corn planting has moved along near average pace to this point in the spring for South Dakota, Todey said emergence is behind the 5-year average. "While this is not a major issue currently, the potential lack of heat during the summer could change the potential crop situation across the state as the summer progresses," he said.
Typically, crops in the southeast part of the state, often experience enough heat during an average growing season. Todey indicated that more frequent 90-degree days often leads to crop stress. "The potential for cool weather during this summer would likely be favorable to their growing season reducing some potential stress," Todey said.
He added that the cooler conditions in the northern portion of the state could produce some additional problems with corn and soybeans. "Northeastern parts of the state generally are more heat-limited. Cooler conditions during the summer could slow crop development throughout the year," he said. "The final impact of cooler temps is not likely to be limited yields, but will be either crops which will not be completely mature at harvest, or contain too high moisture."
Similar problems are likely across the northern tier of the Corn Belt where Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota are all well behind on corn planting currently, said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist.
"These states are not the biggest producers of corn and soybeans. But collectively, they represent a large chunk of acres which could have delayed crop problems throughout the year," she said.
For small grains, Edwards explained that the cooler conditions should have less of an impact other than potentially delaying maturity and harvest. "Cooler conditions should be generally favorable for small grains once planted," she said.
She added that because wetter than average conditions are more likely throughout most of the state, for areas south and west this also should be generally beneficial. "Even if wetter than average conditions do not pan out, the cooler temperatures would help overall soil moisture conditions," Edwards said. "Cooler conditions reduce crop water use. Thus, less moisture would be needed even in drier soils."
The long range outlooks are also interesting, Todey added, because the Climate Prediction Center rarely says much about temperature or precipitation in the northern plains during the summer months. "The current outlooks are not indicating wet or cool conditions strongly. But that they indicate anything different from equal chances is an interesting feature of the outlooks," he said.
Why cooler and wet conditions?
Part of the reasoning behind the change, Todey explained seems to be the development of the current El Nino. "Warmer than average sea-surface temperatures have developed rapidly in the equatorial Pacific leading to a quickly developing El Nino," he said.
Recent numbers from the Climate Prediction Center have noted a 65 percent chance of El Nino developing this summer. This situation has impacted the potential outlooks over South Dakota and the Corn Belt for the summer.