2015-16 El Nino compared to 1997-98 El Nino

Curious how the weather of the 2015-16 el nino compares to the most previous large el nino event in 1997-98? So far, the 2016 and 1998 weather is very similar. 

Figures 1 and 2 (below) show comparisons of Southwest Research and Outreach Center long-term average precipitation and temperature with January 1-March 1, 2016.  Also shown are the January 1-November 1 of 1998, the most previous large el nino event.

El Nino weather data - precipitation

El Nino weather data - temperature

Figure 3 (below) shows historical average corn and soybean yields for Redwood County. 

Redwood County Historic Yields

So, what was the 1998 growing season like?

For many of us in southwest Minnesota, the most memorable event was the tornadoes that tore through rural southern Minnesota and the towns of Comfrey, Le Center and St. Peter on March 29th.

Looking back at 1998 newsletters, 1998 was not a major year for crop pests in SW MN. A few pockets of wireworm and white grubs infested SW and WC Minnesota.  Potato leafhopper levels in alfalfa were moderate. European corn borer were present but below the levels of 1996 and 1997. Northern corn rootworm populations were moderate and the problems with extended diapause in rotated corn were just waiting for rootworm populations to increase to become obvious. Sclerotinia stem rot (White mold) was present in some soybean fields. ALS herbicides were widely used. Roundup ready soybeans were just getting started and low rates of glyphosate still killed pretty much any weed you sprayed it on.