Ag Weather Forum

Another Major Winter Storm Ahead

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The seven-day precipitation total, ending Dec. 3, continues to affect the Northern Plains and Corn Belt, giving little chance for finishing the remaining harvest. (DTN graphic)

A major winter storm later in the week will shut down the harvest, possibly until next spring in the Northern Plains and northwest Midwest.

The corn harvest remains about two weeks behind normal in the Midwest and even further behind in the Northern Plains. Moisture levels for corn remain in the 20-21% range, which is essentially unchanged from a week ago. Last year moisture content was running around 16-17%.

At this time of the year, it is almost impossible to dry corn in the fields due to the lack of sunlight. It continues to look as though much of the remaining corn to be harvested will be left out in the fields over the winter to be harvested in the spring if it is in a salvageable condition. Based on current progress, the region leaving the most corn in the fields will be in North Dakota where only 30% has been harvested to date.

Soybean harvest progress is running in the 90s in the Midwest. This is as much as three weeks behind normal. Only 89% of the soybeans have been harvested in North Dakota. Much of that crop remaining in the fields may be lost.

The main feature of the weather pattern during the next five days will be a major storm system which will bring a mixed bag of snow/ice/rain to the Northern Plains. Where it remains all snow, more than a foot can be expected. It will be mostly a rain event over the southern and eastern Midwest.

The weather pattern looks drier in the six-to-10-day period as the trough supporting this storm moves off to the east and some ridging builds in from the west. However, there are more storms lined up in the Pacific Ocean, which could affect the central United States as soon as later next week.

Soil moisture levels in the Southern plains are much lower than they were a year ago when they were adequate to surplus, but not dry enough to put any significant stress on the crop. There is the chance of some light to moderate rain on Thursday and Friday that will add some moisture to the soils.

Moderate to heavy rain is expected to affect the entire major soybean belt of Brazil during the next few days. This will be a very timely and beneficial event that will allow favorable growing conditions to continue. The northeast soybean areas of Brazil (Bahia) which have been affected by hot, dry weather are seeing an increase in showers this week. This will allow an increase in planting. Weather patterns in Argentina remain favorable with enough rainfall to support planting and developing corn and soybeans.

We will have an update on the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial pacific for the month of November next week. Marginal El Nino conditions being observed at this time seem to be supporting an increase in Pacific Ocean storminess affecting the U.S.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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