2023 Broad Weather Forecasts

Weather forecasts important to farmers

Agriculture meteorologists are important voices for farmers. John Baranick, a weather specialist at DTN, one of the speakers at the 2022 AgOutlook Conference in Sioux Falls, grabs the attention of producers even though people in his line of work have to depend on broad generalities. “Weather is very local,” said Baranick, in an earlier interview, “so even a region where we’re expecting maybe above normal or below normal temperatures or something six months down the road, there’s some variability in that.”

What affects U.S. farmers’ ability to plan ahead in production and marketing, Baranick told the South Dakota Soybean Network, is the weather that is happening now in South America. “La Niña’s in effect,” he said. “It’s having a terrible time with the weather conditions in Argentina, but now it’s starting to affect southern Brazil as well, so we’re really getting on board with how that crop is shaping up early on in their growing season. Of course, our fall is their spring so they’re just starting to get planted, they’re just starting to get going, but that’s where our focus and attention is right now, in South America.”

What Baranick tries to get across to audiences is what weather issues are happening in other parts of the world and how they will make a difference in supply situations, such as what stressors there are and what will happen in the future. “We might be saying everything looks good in South America or in southern Brazil,” said Baranick, “but we’re still in La Niña conditions and we’re looking at model forecasts and they’re not looking great for southern Brazil, so how might that be affecting the corn and soybean crop? What, perhaps could we do up here as far as selling grain now or holding on to it a little bit if you’ve got the ability to do so? And I’m trying to give you the best decision there on how to market your grain.”

A lot of weather data is readily available, but Baranick is among the experts and scientists whose role it is to give context to data points that don’t hold up on their own. “You might have a high of 85 degrees, but if that comes at noon and then you’ve got falling temperatures throughout the day, that’s a little bit different than hitting 85 degrees at like 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm, or something like that. So, somebody like me can really kind of put that into context for you.”