From: Reuters
Published April 8, 2008 12:21 PM

Rainfall continues to slow spring field work

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wet weather in the U.S. Midwest continues to slow spring field work, leading to concern about a late start for the 2008 corn crop, a forecaster said on Tuesday.

Rain and thunderstorms were expected in the western and northern Midwest on Tuesday. Another storm will move through the belt starting Thursday, with up to 1.5 inches of melted precipitation expected.

The northern areas -- South Dakota, western Minnesota and northwest Iowa -- could see up to 4 inches of snow.

"With the added rain, snow, it's going to be a week or more before any significant field work can get done," said Joel Burgio, a forecaster with DTN Meteorlogix weather service.

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It will be windy Thursday and Friday with temperatures mostly below normal through the weekend.

The wet weather is keeping farmers from preparing seedbeds and preventing early corn seedings in the U.S. southern and eastern crop region.

The U.S. Agriculture Department issued its first crop progress report of the season late Monday. Corn seedings were missing from the report -- a sign that farmers are behind in the mid-South. Last year, 3 percent of the U.S. corn crop was planted by April 8.

Cold temperatures also are a problem and preventing soils from drying out and keeping soil temperatures too cold for corn seeds to germinate.

Burgio said the six-to-10-day outlook for the Midwest, Sunday through Thursday, was for near to above-normal temperatures in the west and near to below-normal in the east. Rainfall will be near to below-normal in the west and near to above-normal in the east.

(Reporting by Sam Nelson and Christine Stebbins, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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