April 16, 2014 | Elise Schafer

Will Spring Ever Arrive?

Long-term cooling pattern makes for a seemingly endless winter

Will Spring Ever Arrive?

Spring is the season of transfor­mation, a fresh start and new hope. Its weather sets the course for the rest of the year, impacting when farmers can get in their fields and plant their crops. Unfortunately, in much of the Midwest, this year it kicked off looking decidedly more like winter than spring.

DTN weather blogger Mike Palmerino wrote on St. Patrick’s Day, “We have now entered mid-March with no signs of a significant change in the weather pattern that has brought us one of the coldest winters in the Midwest since the late 1970s.”

Eventually the cold will subside, but are we prepared for what’s on the other side? Due to above average snowfall and drought-ravaged soil that’s unable to properly absorb snowmelt and runoff, conditions are ripe for flooding this spring in three of the country’s top five corn-producing states. In addition to delaying or altogether preventing planting, floods can disrupt barge traffic, threaten the quality of existing grain inventories, and even shutter export facilities and grain elevators along riverbanks.

On March 7, the NOAA’s National Weather Service reported “above normal” to “much above normal” spring flood risk throughout northwest Illinois along the Rock and Pecatonica Rivers. The risk is also above normal along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, IA, downstream to Burlington, IA, as well as in Minnesota’s Red River Valley.

Of course we’ve seen sunnier springs with brighter weather outlooks in the past, but we’ve also seen worse. Many of you survived the drought of 2012, and the Mississippi River flood of 2011 by doing what you do year after year: Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

But while spring’s late arrival is leav­ing much to the imagination for the grain industry, the season has brought at least one transformation already. Feed & Grain recently launched a new website, featuring simpler navigation, a new online Buyer’s Guide, and an improved viewing experience on smartphones and tablets.

Visit my the blog post, “Five Things to Love About the New FeedandGrain.com” at www.feedandgrain.com/-8g to learn more about the changes. My favor­ite addition is our ability to have you join our blog. The feed and grain industry is a tight-knit community with unique chal­lenges and experiences that only others like you can truly appreciate. We’d like to extend an opportunity to our readers to blog for FeedandGrain.com and share your perspective with your peers. Please email me at elise.schafer@feedandgrain. com if you’re interested in blogging, or to share your thoughts on the new website.

I look forward to your feedback!

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