Kansas summer crops: Wet to dry in a hurry

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The summer row crop season started with very wet conditions and with very few days for planting row crops. At this point, the very wet start to the season has switched to an extremely dry start to June in much of the state. The maps below show the departure from normal precipitation at the end of May and for the week ending on June 15, 2017:

Figure 1. Precipitation departures for May 2017 and the 7-day period of June 9-15 (lower panel). Source: K-State Weather Data Library

Despite that deficit, soil moisture values are still above normal across much of the state. However much of the corn was planted into wet ground and root growth has been slow. The rapid switch to warm, dry conditions has increased evapotranspiration demands. Any plants with poor root development are showing signs of stress.

Figure 2.  Soil Moisture anomaly as of June 15, 2017 (USDA).


Figure 3. Corn showing leaf rolling, potential signs of temporary drought effects. Photo by Ignacio A. Ciampitti, K-State Research and Extension.


Short-term weather outlook

The short-term 6-10 day weather outlook (Fig. 3, upper panel) reflects equal chances for precipitation. The 8-14 day weather outlook also shows a neutral probability of precipitation across the state (Fig. 3, lower panel).

Figure 3. Weather outlooks, 6-10 day (top panel) and 8-14 day (bottom panel). Source: NOAA.

The quantitative precipitation forecast for the 7-day total precipitation shows precipitation amounts ranging from 0.5-inch in the SW and SC parts of the state to +1-inch in the eastern side, and close to 2-inches in the SE corner (Fig. 4).

Figure 4. Quantitative precipitation forecast, 7-day total precipitation. Source: NOAA.


Considering the weather outlook for the coming week, drought stress may be visible in crops with poor root development.

The main concerns from now on are related to the lingering effects of poor root development, and herbicide activation.


Ignacio Ciampitti, Crop Production and Cropping Systems Specialist

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library