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Will conditions improve in time for harvest?

By Staff | Sep 14, 2018



Recent heavy rains that have moved through a large portion of the Midwest over the past couple of weeks have many producers wondering what type of field conditions they will be facing when harvest begins.

Bryce Anderson, DTN senior ag meteorologist, said last week that he thinks conditions for fall are “looking pretty favorable.”

Conditions will need to improve fairly quickly, as Anderson predicted harvest is rapidly approaching.

In some areas, it has already begun.

“The harvest in general is likely to be earlier than average,” he said. “At least as far as crop conditions are concerned, and a big reason for that is we have had growing degree day totals over the entire Corn Belt that are above normal. One hundred to 300 units above normal in some cases.”

He added Harvest in some locales is looking to be two weeks ahead of average.

“The reason I think this is important is because I don’t think we are going to have to worry about frost coming in and causing a real complication at least right now,” he said. “The temperatures in July and August were certainly favorable for bringing crops along. June was very warm and that kind of kicked everything into gear, particularly for corn in regards to pollination.”

Anderson said due to the recent heavy rains, standability problems could appear in corn and there could also be soybean lodging.

“It’s going to be very important over the next few weeks for this rainfall pattern to at least show some lessening and some easing and I do think that is going to be a feature,” he said.

What to expect

The four-week forecast that takes us to the latter part of September and into the fall season is showing a cooler pattern over the eastern Midwest and near normal conditions reforming in the Pacific Northwest with precipitation to focus more in the south and near to below normal in the northwestern part of the Corn Belt.

“If that verifies, that would certainly be welcome,” he said.

The three-month outlook that takes us through the fall season is showing precipitation to be near normal and temperatures to be above normal, Anderson said.

“This is promising for harvest and it does look like we are going to have a lower cost for grain drying this year,” he said. “A key feature is actually going to be will we get enough mild days with not a whole lot of wind to help crops avoid some wind issues? That is going to be a key detail as we go through the month of September.”

El Nino

Anderson said the water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are moving toward an above normal track and it does look like an El Nino is going to form in the Pacific during the late part of October and into November and on through winter.

“The big feature with El Nino is that precipitation will likely focus more over the southern tier of the country and lead to a little bit of a drier trend during the fall season over much of the Midwest,” he said. “And that would be better for harvest, of course, if that indeed takes shape.”

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