Ag Weather Forum

Crops Need Better Weather to Overcome Lag Time

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
DTN's seven-day total precipitation forecast through Sept. 3 has rainfall near to below normal for the Midwest and Northern Plains. (DTN graphic)

Corn and soybean development remains well behind normal in most of the Midwest and Northern Plains.

Latest crop reports indicate corn and soybean development is running about seven to 10 days behind normal in the western Midwest and 10-14 days behind normal in the eastern Midwest. Crop progress has been running consistently behind normal since the planting delays during spring as temperatures have not been consistently high enough to accelerate development.

There has been some improvement in rainfall in the dry areas of the central and eastern Midwest during the past seven days. Short to very short topsoil moisture from southeast Iowa across the eastern Midwest now stands at 35-45%. This is an improvement from 50-65% a week ago.

We continue to see very little change in crop ratings from week-to-week with the exception of Illinois, where crop ratings did show improvement, likely due to increased rainfall. Best ratings are in Nebraska at 72-74% good to excellent. Other good-to-excellent ratings: 55-60% in Minnesota, 62-65% in Iowa, 49-50% in Illinois, 30-33% in Indiana and Ohio. These poor ratings in the eastern Midwest reflect the very late plantings as well as some of the dryness that had developed.

The outlook for the Midwest and Northern Plains during the next seven days calls for variable temperatures, milder conditions out ahead of systems, cooler behind them. Rainfall is expected to be near to below normal. Under normal circumstances, that would be favorable for filling corn and soybeans. However, with the lack of any persistent warm weather crop development will continue to lag.

We will be watching temperatures in the Canadian Prairies closely with the likelihood of some scattered frost and light freeze conditions during the next seven days. However, no killing freeze is expected.

If any freezing temperatures occur in the Northern Plains and Midwest during September, significant crop damage could occur. We do not see any freezing conditions in these areas during the next seven days. However, this will be the main point of concern for crops as we move forward into September.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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