Corn planting in Kansas: Soil moisture and precipitation outlook

Share Tweet Email

There has been a variable, but generally substantial, amount of precipitation in many parts of the state during the past month (Fig. 1). In some areas of the eastern part of the state total precipitation was more than 7 inches, with lesser amounts toward the west and north central parts of the state.  Normal precipitation amounts in Kansas for the period from March 15 to April 14 range from 1.15 to 3.82 inches. The amount received in southwest and eastern Kansas during this period has been well above normal (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Precipitation summary for the period from March 15 to April 14, 2017.

Figure 2. Departure from normal precipitation for the period from March 15 to April 14, 2017.

The medium-term outlook (8-14 day, April 13 to 21-27) is calling for above normal probabilities for precipitation for the entire state, as well as most of the northcentral part of the Corn Belt region (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. 8-14 Day Outlook Precipitation Probability from NOAA.


In the nearer term, April 14-21 (Fig. 4), the outlook for precipitation calls for almost 0.5 inches in the southwest region to more than 3 inches of rain in the eastern part of the state, adding to the precipitation already received this past month. This would definitely slow down the soil drying process and impede any field work until conditions are more suitable for planting.

Figure 4. 7-Day Outlook Precipitation Probability for April 14-21, NOAA.


As a reminder, soil conditions at planting have a large impact on emergence uniformity and early-season growth of corn. Lack of uniformity in emergence can greatly impact corn potential yields.

It looks possible or even likely that wet conditions will affect early planting of corn in many areas of the state for a while yet. If possible, wait and plant under more uniform soil temperature and moisture conditions to guarantee a more uniform early-season stand of plants.

More information about planting status of summer row crops will be provided in upcoming issues of the Agronomy eUpdate. Stay tuned!


Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library