What's Your Weather Forecast For Planting Season?

Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait 5 minutes.”

I’m not sure why he chose New England to use as his example. Twain was a Missouri native (as am I), so he could have just as easily referenced his home state and been equally accurate. For that matter, there are many regions in the U.S. where this quote could apply, especially in the past 12 months.

2018 weather was one for the record books. At the end of last December, the continental United States was on pace to see its fifth-wettest year on record and eight states were on track to have their wettest years on record, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and reported on in detail by Judson Jones, a CNN meteorologist.

In the first quarter of 2019, much of the Corn Belt continued to see a lot of water stack up from heavy snows and rainfall. Depending on where you’re based, you can expect to see more above-average levels of moisture through May. See the map below provided by the The Weather Company for more details.

As we head into planting season, Aaron Wilson, a climate specialist with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at Ohio State asked some questions many of us are asking ourselves about the moisture: “What do we do with it? How do we steward it?”

Wilson told the farmers attending the annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada, Ohio, earlier this month that there’s no one fix for the issue.

“I don’t think we should ever look at a single solution to a problem,” Wilson said. “Farmers might want to look into measures such as a second ditch, cover crops, an underground drainage system, and other conservation practices for handling the additional water.”

Some farmers will be able to use Wilson’s ideas, and others won’t. Those of us in the won’t category can talk to our agronomists, Extension specialists, industry experts and each other to see what options we have. Along with that, we all  wait and hope Mother Nature will cooperate as planting season gets underway.