It comes as no surprise that crop ratings slipped yet another week. Dryness and heat were the main stories for much of the major growing regions last week, especially across the driest areas in the central Corn Belt.
Little to no rain fell for much of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois and with less than 0.50 inch for much of Indiana as well. The exceptions were across the north where a strong front produced rainfall of 0.50 to 2 inches from the Dakotas through Michigan and eastern Ohio and of course the remnants of Hurricane Laura which produced 2 to 4 inches of rain and locally heavier amounts up to 10 inches across the Deep South. The system weakened as it moved eastward south of the Ohio River, but still produced 1 to 2 inches of rain in the Delta through the Tennessee Valleys with locally heavier amounts up to 5 inches.
Heat was the secondary piece to the puzzle. Temperatures regularly made it into the 90s for the majority of the major growing regions for several days, with 100s in some portions of the Plains. The combination with the mostly dry conditions caused good-to-excellent corn and soybean ratings to drop considerably in Nebraska (2 percentage points and 5 points, respectively), Kansas (5 points and 11 points, respectively), and Iowa (5 points and 6 points, respectively). Good-to-excellent ratings mostly dropped a couple of points for every other major state except along the Delta.
The country still looks to be quite active. As noted last week, a pattern change is setting up with a trough over central Canada into the northern United States. This pattern will transform a bit over the next 10 days, but for the most part it will hold, especially at the end of the 10-day period.
A storm system Sept. 1-3 will continue to produce showers from the Southern Plains through the Midwest. Some areas of Iowa and Illinois that have been devoid of precipitation will see amounts over 0.50 inch, but it will not be enough to curtail the dry trend.
A couple of other system will move across the northern tier through the coming weekend. Precipitation amounts look rather light and spotty through Sept. 6, except for a couple areas of thunderstorms, but the storms will bring breezy winds with them across the Northern Plains. These stronger gusts may be damaging to spring wheat stands still waiting for harvest.
A particularly strong storm is poised to move through the country Sept. 7-10. In addition to gusty winds and moderate rain, fall temperatures are expected to grip the nation's midsection behind the storm. Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below normal west of the Mississippi River, coming dangerously close to the frost point for a couple of mornings across the Northern Plains and northern Midwest. This will need to be watched closely as a frost this early would be disastrous to filling corn and soybeans that still have a way to go before maturity.
John Baranick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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