Expert weighs in on the ag impact of this week’s blizzard

As winter systems sweep through farm country, Eric Snodgrass from Nutrien Ag Solutions provides valuable insights into the weather’s impact on agriculture.

A powerful early-week blizzard is unleashing its fury across the Plains and Midwest, impacting over 30 states with a relentless onslaught of severe weather conditions. Fierce winds, heavy snowfall, flooding rain, and severe storms have prompted Blizzard warnings and winter weather alerts, leading to hazardous conditions and significant highway closures. Governor Laura Kelly’s declaration of a state of emergency in Kansas underscores the gravity of the situation, raising concerns about the potential impact on farmers and ranchers as the storm tightens its grip.

In a recent interview, Eric Snodgrass from Nutrien Ag Solutions shared his expert perspective on the unfolding weather systems. “We’ve got three of them lined up right now,” Snodgrass explained. “The first big one impacted parts of the Midwest, bringing super weather South yesterday, including some 3 to 5 inch rainfall events over the Mississippi Basin. It was accompanied by heavy snow on the backside, moving towards Canada. Another system is expected this weekend, followed by a third next Monday and Tuesday, venturing even farther South. These systems bring big snows, strong winds, and crucial moisture, which is exactly what we want to see.”

When questioned about the implications for agriculture, Snodgrass delved into the challenges arising from low subsurface soil moisture. “The biggest problem right now is that our subsurface soil moisture throughout the Mississippi Basin, the Ohio Basin part of the Missouri Basin is still quite low. The storm system is hitting mostly unfrozen soil, allowing us to soak in some much-needed water. The nastier the winter, the better we like the upcoming growing season. Let’s start replenishing this moisture now with these types of systems and then pray for the best once we get into spring and summer.”

As the storm unfolds, the agricultural community grapples with heightened challenges. Farmers and ranchers face risks to livestock, crops, and infrastructure due to severe weather conditions. The tightening storm raises concerns about transportation, supply chains, and overall farm operations. The coming days will be crucial in determining the extent of the impact and the resilience of the agricultural sector in the face of winter’s wrath.

A video from Kelly Ahart in Alcester, South Dakota, captures the stark reality of the blizzard’s impact. The footage showcases a massive snow drift surrounding their barn, providing a visual testament to the challenges faced by the ag community.


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