Which is a greater concern: Lack of soil moisture or snow?
MICHIGAN: The precipitation for the past four weeks ending January 1 varied from 0.87 inches to 1.99 inches. The month of December was much warmer than normal and yielded much less snow fall. Producers stated that more snow cover was needed to protect winter wheat.
MINNESOTA: December was warm and dry. Temperatures for the month averaged from 7.0 to 11.3 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged from 0.47 inch below normal to 0.08 inch above normal. Most observers reported monthly average temperatures that ranged from 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal, placing 2011 among the top ten warmest Decembers Statewide. The lack of precipitation during December placed it among the ten driest in history, according to the Minnesota state climatology office. As of December 27, with the exception of the southeastern tip, the entire State was rated from abnormally dry to undergoing a severe drought by the U.S. Drought Monitor. As of December 29, snow cover was negligible across the State.
MISSOURI: December was warmer and wetter than normal. Average temperatures were 3 to 6 degrees above normal. Precipitation averaged 3.64 inches compared to the December 30 year average of 2.67 inches. The condition of the dormant winter wheat crop ranges from poor to excellent with the majority rated good. The condition of some winter wheat in the southeast district was poor due to standing water after 7.4 inches in December.
NEBRASKA: Wheat conditions rated 1% poor, 25% fair, 70% good, and 4% excellent. Weather conditions were relatively mild and dry compared to the same month last year. High temperatures reached the upper 60’s and lows fell to - 16 degrees. Snow that had fallen during the month melted with the above normal temperatures. Wheat conditions were well above year ago levels. The majority of the State saw temperatures average 2-6 degrees above normal. The southeast corner of the State received from 1 to 3 inches of precipitation, while much of the west and north received a half inch or less.
NORTH DAKOTA: Average snow depth was 0.2 on January 1. Snow cover protection for alfalfa was rated 98% poor, 2% adequate. Snow cover protection for winter wheat was rated 94% poor, 6% adequate. The month of December brought warmer than average temperatures and very little snow accumulation to the State. While the mild weather conditions were welcomed by most, some winter wheat and alfalfa producers expressed concern over the lack of adequate snow cover for their crops.
OHIO: The December 2011 average temperature for Ohio was 37.0 degrees, 5.3 degrees above normal. Precipitation for the State averaged 4.35 inches, 1.43 inches above normal. Winter wheat producing counties report that the wheat crop is in fair to good condition. Much of the crop was planted late and acreage is down from operator planting intentions due to a wet fall; however planted wheat crops are in good shape. Initial snow cover in fields occurred during the last week of December, which is behind usual conditions.