Cold to linger over US Midwest for next 2 weeks

CHICAGO - The US Midwest was expected to remain bitterly cold during the next two weeks as an updated 11-to-15 day forecast showed temperatures remaining at sub-zero levels for much of that period, an agricultural meteorologist said on Friday.

The updated models show there is little chance for relief from the cold pattern that has descended over the region, threatening the soft red winter wheat crop and disrupting grain transportation, said Don Keeney of MDA Weather Services.

Most of the hard red winter wheat crop in the US Plains was safe from the threat of winter kill as temperatures in that region were expected to be more moderate but areas of eastern Nebraska are at risk.

In the US Midwest, soft wheat in central and western Illinois, and northern and east central Missouri could be damaged the most, Keeney said.

Some storms in the northern and eastern Midwest during the weekend, bringing as much as 4 to 5 inches of snow in places, will provide additional protection for crops.

In South America, heavy rains in Argentina raised expectations for the size of the corn and soybean crops, and there was more precipitation in the forecast for northern areas during the next few days.

Harvest in parts of southern and central Brazil was likely slowed rain showers but northeast areas of the country remain dry, which could lower crop yields there.

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