Pennsylvania Soaked with Rain; 20 Points Behind 2023 Planting Progress

Persistent rain has delayed corn planting in Pennsylvania, putting the state 20 percentage points behind last year’s progress. However, the rain is expected to ease in the coming weeks, giving farmers a chance to catch up.

Consistent rains across the Corn Belt have also slowed planting, but according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report, 83% of the nation’s corn crop is already planted, slightly ahead of the five-year average.

In Iowa, for instance, numerous storms allowed only 2.3 workable field days in the week ending May 26. Iowa’s corn planting is 88% complete, four points behind its five-year average.

In Pennsylvania, May has been exceptionally wet, with rain falling “two out of every three days,” according to AccuWeather meteorologist Dale Mohler. April was relatively dry but too early for most corn planting. Currently, Pennsylvania is 53% complete with corn planting, trailing 13 points behind its five-year average and 20 points behind last year’s pace.

Despite the wet conditions, Pennsylvania reported 5.5 suitable fieldwork days from May 19 to May 26, showing significant progress. Mohler remains optimistic that there is still enough time to finish planting before it’s too late.

Data from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet shows that most of Pennsylvania received above-average rainfall in May, except for the northwestern and southeastern corners. Mohler expects a new weather system to bring cooler and drier conditions over the next two weeks, which should not impede planting.

Looking ahead, Mohler does not see Pennsylvania’s slow progress as a major concern. The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts favorable weather, with more rain expected in the coming months.

Although the U.S. is currently in a neutral weather phase after El Niño, both AccuWeather and the NWS predict a “weak-to-moderate” La Niña to develop later this summer and into the fall.

While La Niña may not significantly impact crop progress and condition in Pennsylvania, it could affect winter wheat planting in other states. La Niña typically brings less rain to the central and southern Plains, potentially affecting the establishment of winter wheat crops this fall.

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