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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Spring Planting Weather/Climate Outlook

Spring is quickly approaching. The question is, what is in store for planting season from Mother Nature?

We have a strong El Niño ongoing in the eastern Pacific Ocean but it is weakening quickly and should end during planting season. Often effects in the atmosphere can linger a bit longer. The years where strong El Niño events come to an end in spring include 2016, 1998, 1982, 1973, 1958 and 1878. You can see this in the first graphic below. 

Mar to May 2016, 1998, 1983, 1973, 1958 vs 1991-2020

However,as we go into summer and autumn, there is a growing chance of a  La Niña returning which is opposite of El Niño. This means 1958 and 1878 drop off and you can see the summer and autumn precipitation results in images below. 

 Jun to Aug 2016, 1998, 1983, 1973 vs 1991-2020

Sept to Nov 2016, 1998, 1983, 1973 vs 1991-2020

The message is the above normal temperatures are expected to remain with us for most of 2024. Precipitation is likely to turn from drier than normal to slightly wetter than normal through our spring plant in Ohio (not as dry as 2023). As we get into the growing season uncertainty grows for rainfall as it looks like Ohio is likely to experience wide fluctuations with some areas slightly wetter than normal while other areas see potentially some drought development. Since Mother Nature is mad in the oceans right now with extreme water temperature changes, this could stress crop yields more in the eastern Ohio Valley in 2024 versus 2023.

MapOur vegetative greening up is running 20 days ahead of schedule now and is already into Kentucky. We expect this 10-20 day ahead of schedule greening up to continue through March. See latest green up image provided by the USGS with NOAA data. You can see the data anytime at

Finally, the question is what about the last spring freeze date in 2024? Typically we see the last hard freeze in April. Right now, most data says a near normal April date is most likely. We do not see a late hard freeze into May this year as of now.

You can get all the official climate outlooks from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center at .

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.