Farm Progress

It’s hard to start planting season with snow on the ground. Here’s a look at Twitter and the latest weather events, soil temps and what it all means for the days ahead.

Jill Loehr, Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer

April 10, 2018

5 Min Read
WINTER OR SPRING? Henry County, Ill., farmers expect to see fields like this in January, not April. Almost 2 inches of snow fell on April 9.

On April 9, many Illinois farmers woke up to an unwelcome sight: more snow.

 

April snow events are rare but not unheard of. “It was more common in the 1970s and 1980s,” says Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey, adding that 1982 was the last time Illinois had notable April snow. The record breaker dates all the way back to 1920.

With snow still falling, soil temperatures on Sunday ranged from 32.6 degrees F in northwest Illinois to 38.5 degrees F in southern Illinois.

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“The snow is getting all of the attention, but an extremely cold April is the real driving force behind all of this,” Angel says. “If it wasn’t 14 degrees below normal, this would all be rain.”

For most farmers, the decision to wait for better soil conditions is obvious.

Some farmers, like Maria Cox in Greene County, already pulled the trigger, planting last Friday.

 

Stephanie Porter, Burrus Seeds, recommends waiting for warming trends and fit soil conditions.

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While #plant18 is off to an extremely strange — and in most places, nonexistent — start, agronomists want everyone to remember it’s still early April.

After all, it is the Midwest. And as the saying goes, if you don’t like the weather, just give it an hour.

So, hold off on any last-minute planter modifications.

 

And know you’re not alone in your search for true spring weather.

 

About the Author(s)

Jill Loehr

Associate Editor, Prairie Farmer, Loehr

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