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2009 Weather in Review

Heavy rains at the end of March lead to wet soil conditions, limiting the start of fieldwork throughout much of April. April 6th brought freezing temperatures over most of the state except for the southeast district. Warm, dry conditions toward the end of April allowed farmers to return to the fields. Corn planting was 27 percent complete by April 26, about a week behind normal. Nearly half the rice was planted but soybean and sorghum planting was just beginning, one and two weeks behind normal, respectively. Wet conditions returned the first half of May with heavy rains causing some flooding. On May 8th, severe storms caused wind damage in the south-central and east-central districts, while the northern part of the state had damaging storms the following week. The second half of the month farmers made significant planting progress between showers. Corn planting ended the month 90 percent complete 8 days behind normal, while soybean planting was 10 days behind normal. Cotton planting was about a week behind normal, with rice planting 2 weeks behind. Alfalfa and other hay cuttings were about 1 week behind normal.

Wet spring conditions forced some producers to replant corn. Very warm and dry conditions at the end of June allowed farmers to make substantial planting and wheat harvest progress. Corn silking was one week behind while wheat harvest was 58% complete, 3 days behind normal. Soybean and sorghum planting were near completion as the dry weather extended into early July. Wheat harvest was nearly complete by mid July, ahead of normal. Unseasonably cool and wetter than normal weather in July helped to improve row crop conditions. As of July 26, the good to excellent rating was 59 percent for corn and 58 percent for soybeans. Other hay at 90 percent cut and the second cutting of alfalfa at 84 percent complete were nearly a week behind. The northern 3 districts in the state received between 6.94 and 8.75 inches in August causing some localized flooding. By month’s end, corn maturing was 2 weeks behind normal while soybeans turning color was 1 week behind. Rice heading and cotton opening bolls were nearly 3 weeks behind normal.

Cool temperatures and late planting considerably slowed maturation of row crops, hindering producers from taking full advantage of the dry weather through most of September into the beginning of October. As of October 4, corn harvest was 28 percent complete and rice harvest was only 13 percent complete. Heavy rainfall in October limited harvesting and wheat seeding. October rainfall averaged 10.04 inches compared to the 30 year average of 3.37 inches. By the end of the month, corn and cotton harvest were over a month behind normal, while soybeans, rice, and winter wheat seedings were over 3 weeks behind. Warm weather with little precipitation the first half of November allowed farms to make 50 point increase in cotton and soybean harvest while rice harvest was complete. Wet weather and snow in the northwest part of the state returned the following week, before dry weather returned and harvest resumed. As of December 6, eight percent of the corn, 3 percent of the soybeans, 6 percent of cotton and sorghum, were still in the field; meanwhile, wheat seedings were 78 percent complete, a month behind normal, indicating a much lower planted acreage for 2010 than normal. By December 20, 2 percent of the corn was left to harvest while the cotton harvest was nearly completed.