The Good: The second round of rains moved through eastern Alberta and north-western Saskatchewan today and a wave in the Northern Plains should move into eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba overnight. The rains will be most welcome in these regions as they missed the bulk of the precipitation yesterday. The latest run of the NAM model shows that the bulk of the precipitation will fall north of the 49th parallel. The forecast turns drier after tomorrow and the furnace will be turned up in the eastern Prairies. Highs in during the middle of next week will reach the mid 30s in the eastern Prairies and mid to upper 20s in western growing areas. Although these rains have been very good this week, another round of precipitation will be needed by the last week of this month.
The Bad: The spring wheat areas in Russia and western Kazakhstan have two things in common with Western Canada this year. One is that the growing season to date has been dry in the Urals, Kazakhstan and Siberia. The second common feature is that heat is expected to move into the Urals and Kazakhstan by the middle of next week. This makes the move today to increase the Russian wheat crop by one million tonnes even more puzzling. It appears that the area of spring wheat was increased, but yields were not reduced. The reason for the spring wheat area increase? Winterkill in the Black Soils region has resulted in higher spring wheat plantings. USDA needs to reduce the winter wheat area in Russia to account for the change. Nevertheless, temperatures from Orenburg eastward to western Kazakhstan will hit the mid 30s next Wednesday. Sound familiar?
The Ugly: The drought monitor this week kept eastern Montana and most of North Dakota in the extreme to exceptional drought category. The map was constructed before the rains on Wednesday so there should be some improvement last week. The problem is that the drought areas increased to include southern Minnesota, most of Iowa and parts of northern Illinois. This dryness could have a serious impact on corn and soybean production this year. It is still early in the growing season, but rains are needed in the western Corn Belt to get crops back on track. Unfortunately, this region is expected to be mostly hot and dry next week. Given the reduction in US ending stocks this year to 1.1 billion bushels, the need for a large corn crop this year needs to emphasized. That will be impossible to achieve if this maps doesn’t improve in the next six weeks.