If a farmer is going to wait to plant corn until soil temperatures are at least 55 degrees, how close to that mark are soils around Indiana? Associate State Climatologist Ken Scheeringa located at Purdue says many locations have met or exceeded that mark through Sunday, but temperatures are dropping again.
Early Monday afternoon he told HAT, “I’m noticing in the last few hours I’m seeing our soil temperatures are dropping some. I’m seeing some upper 40 degree temperatures in far northern Indiana. Most of the state is still in the 50’s as this cold air is just starting to move in now, but in the last few days with the really nice weekend that we’ve had we have been able to get our soil temperatures in the desirable range.”
Although soil temperatures drop slower than air temperatures, there will be a shift in the soil with cooler weather coming in.
“The data I was looking at is for the 4 inches below the surface level and you can watch that drop slowly during the day. It started out in the midnight hours in the low 50’s but it has dropped perhaps 4 or 5 degrees, especially in the northern area where it’s been colder a little longer.”
Scheeringa told HAT that typical April weather of rain every 3 days is expected in the short term. And when it comes to actual planting, soil moisture now points to a quicker start in northern Indiana.
“If you remember from last week we had some pretty heavy rains in the southern part of Indiana and that’s still going to play a factor in when they’re able to get out there. They probably had some drying over this nice weekend, but overall the soil moisture situation is still wetter in the southern part of the state, and probably most favorable in the northwest corner. They did not get those heavy rains and we had not nearly this much rain over the last seven days up there, so if I had to throw some dice and put a gamble on which area might be ready to start first, I’d say it would be the northwest.”
And even with warmer soils, planting in far southern Indiana may bring up the rear this year.