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Ag Weather Update

Matt Dixon, Meteorologist

UK Ag Weather Center

Updated 5-4-22

Recent Conditions

We’ve made it to May and for many, it has been a slow-go to get crops in the ground this year. The latest Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report puts corn planting at 26% complete, well behind the 5-year average of 42% at this time of year. This has especially been the case across Western Kentucky, where excessive rainfall has been common. Portions of the Purchase and Pennyrile have seen 6 – 8+ inches over the past 30 days (map below). Western Kentucky normally averages 5.01 inches for the entire month of April. The highest total over that time span has come from the Kentucky Mesonet station in Cadiz, which saw 8.43 inches. Luckily though, we did see a pretty significant period of dry weather between Tuesday and Friday last week, but field work will likely be limited again the next several days (more in the forecast below).


The higher totals haven’t been shared by the entirety of the state. While Western Kentucky has seen well above normal rainfall, portions of Southeastern KY and the Northern Bluegrass are running more than an inch BELOW normal. Much of Southeastern Kentucky has now been in the “abnormally dry” category on the US Drought Monitor for 4 straight weeks.

Looking at temperatures, we’ve seen our fair share of ups and downs, but that is typical with the spring season. While temperatures did run below normal for the month of April, damaging frost and freezing temperatures have been largely absent this year (knock on wood). We did have a little bit of worry last Wednesday morning (4/27), but temperatures ended up a little warmer than forecast with most staying in the mid to upper 30s

The chance for another freeze is very low at this point in the spring season. Most of the state has already surpassed or getting close to the date at which there is a 10% probability of seeing freezing temperatures again. Below is a look at those dates across the state. Based on this information and the forecast/outlooks below, I believe it’s safe to start putting out those summer gardens if you haven’t already.

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We've opened May with a wet pattern in place and this trend will stick with the area through Derby Day. We're in-between systems today (5/4) with mostly cloudy skies and some occasional drizzle in place. Rain chances return tomorrow with coverage growing upwards heading into the overnight. Those chances remain with the area on Friday with the passage of a cold front, most likely creating a sloppy track for the Kentucky Oaks. While lingering activity expands into Derby Day, any additional rainfall looks to be light in nature. Overall, Kentucky is looking at the potential for another inch+ over the next few days (map below).


While this rain will present a headache in terms of planting progress, we have good news ahead. Starting Sunday, we'll see a pretty significant stretch of dry weather, extending at least into the middle stages of next work week. Take advantage while you can!

While it will be dry, we're also going to get our first taste of summer. Below is look at the 6-10 and 8-14 day temperatures outlooks across the United States. Looking at the map on the left (6-10 day), there is very high confidence in above normal temperatures next week (May 9 - 13). Looking at the potential for highs in the mid to upper 80s at times, along with increasing humidity. Suppose a 90-degree high can't be ruled out across Western KY. Above normal temperatures are then forecast to also win out in the May 11-17th time frame.


Related News from UK and Beyond

Kentucky Forage News - May 1, 2022

Kentucky Beef Cattle Newsletter "Off the Hoof", Beef IRM Team, May 1, 2022

Cutworms, Seedlings & Cool Weather - Dr. Ric Bessin, UK Extension Entomologist, May 3, 2022

Kentucky Crop Progress and Condition Report - USDA NASS Kentucky Field Office, May 2, 2022

Wheat Field Day is May 10 - Jordan Strickler, UK Ag Communications, April 28, 2022

Fertilizer prices and cooler temps could affect first hay cutting - Aimee Nielson, UK Ag Communications, May 2, 2022

Kentucky Corn Planting Progress does not Explain Corn Yield - Dr. Chad Lee, UK Extension Grain Crops Specialist, April 26, 2022

Watch the Conditions not the Calendar When Planting Corn - Dr. Chad Lee, UK Extension Grain Crops Specialist, April 22, 2022

Drought Status Update for the Midwest - National Integrated Drought Information System, April 28, 2022

Outdoor Burning Restricted in Some Counties - Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, May 2, 2022


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