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A farmer plants his crop in a field south of Airport Road and east of Highway 281 on Tuesday morning in Grand Island. Good weather has pushed planting ahead of the five-year average. As of April 26, 20 percent of the corn crop and eight percent of the soybean crop has been planted according to the United States Department of Agriculture. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

A recent spell of good weather has helped push spring planting along, but windy conditions and thunderstorms may slow planting progress.

ope体育For the week ending April 26, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service said that corn planted was 20%, ahead of 12% last year, and near 16% for the five-year average.

Soybeans planted were 8%, ahead of 2% both last year and on average.

Area farmers were out working the fields Tuesday. The National Weather Service in Hastings had issued a red flag warning for the area Tuesday as northwest winds at 20 to 30 mph with widespread gusts around 45 mph and low relative humidity at 20% made conditions ripe for wildfires.

In the late afternoon there was a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms and a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms before 7 p.m.

The USDA reported that winter wheat conditions rated 1% very poor, 8% poor, 27% fair, 57% good and 7% excellent.

Sorghum planted was 3%, near 1% both last year and average.

Oats planted was 77%, well ahead of 48% last year, and near the 74% average. Emerged was 38%, well ahead of 13% last year, but near the 42% average.

According to UNL’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, weather conditions vary from year to year during planting season. They said that calendar dates aren’t as important as planting windows for optimum corn yield in Nebraska.

“Not every year will the optimum planting date for corn be in April,” according to IANR. “This has also been found throughout the Corn Belt. In 2019, some growers commented late May/early June planted corn was some of their best yielding due to the strange weather conditions.”

When it comes to planting soybean, IANR said early is critical to maximizing yield.

“This has been found through numerous university studies in addition to grower-reported data,” IANR reported. “Because of this, an increasing number of growers are planting soybeans earlier than or at least at the same time as planting corn.”

Last year in Nebraska, planting season was hampered by wet conditions due to the record March flooding.

ope体育But despite the flooding problems, corn for grain production in Nebraska based on year-end surveys was estimated at 1.79 billion bushels, down slightly from 2018 record corn production, according to the USDA. Yields were 182 bushels per acre and down 10 bushels from 2018. Farmers harvested 9.81 million acres of corn for grain, up 5% from 2018.

In 2019, state soybean production totaled 283 million bushels, down 13% from 2018. Yield, at 58.5 bushels per acre, was up 0.5 bushel from a year earlier.

This year, Nebraska corn growers intend to plant 10.5 million acres, up 4% from 2019, according to the USDA.

ope体育Soybean planted acreage is expected to be 5.1 million acres, up 4% from last year.

For the remainder of the week, on Wednesday the high is forecast near 69, with a north northwest wind at 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. The low will be around 42.

Thursday’s high will be near 78 with winds becoming south southeast at 5 to 10 mph in the morning. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Thursday’s low will be around 54.

ope体育On Friday, mostly sunny, with a high near 87, with a low around 56.

Saturday’s high will be near 78 with a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms.

On Sunday, there will be a 30% chance of showers, with a high near 72. There will also be a 30% chance of showers Sunday night with a low around 48.

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