As we get head into the final week of August, it's time to remind ourselves of when the freeze pattern develops across the Corn Belt. I'll discuss the typical dates, and then have some comments on what the season looks like for an impact on the 2016 season.
First of all, from north to south, the last 10 days of September start the freeze procession by and large. The area of the country covered is large -- most of the Dakotas and Minnesota, two-thirds of Wisconsin, the northern half of Michigan, and the northwestern half of Nebraska along with far northwestern Iowa.
The schedule then moves to the first 10 days of October for southeastern Minnesota, southern Wisconsin, south-central Michigan, northern Illinois, the rest of Iowa except for the far southeast, almost the entire remainder of Nebraska, northwestern Kansas, and the majority of eastern Colorado along with west-central Indiana and a slice of northwestern Missouri.
The middle 10 days of October then take in southwestern and southeastern Michigan, a sliver of far southeastern Wisconsin, almost all of Ohio and
nearly the remainder of Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, and southwestern through northeastern Kansas plus far southeastern Colorado and a small area of southeastern Nebraska.
The freeze pattern concludes in the final 10 days of October, with the first 32 degree Fahrenheit occurrence in Kentucky, the remainder of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois adjacent to the Ohio River, the Missouri Bootheel, western, central and a small section of northeastern Missouri and extreme western Illinois, and south-central through southeastern Kansas.
There you have the rundown. Now, what are the implications for this 2016 crop season?
At this point, frost is a minor issue, due mostly to crops getting moved along in progress rapidly thanks to summer heat. Corn in the dough stage as of Sunday, Aug. 21, is estimated at 85%, nearly 10 percentage points ahead of average, and corn in the dent stage, at 40%, is five points ahead of average. The earliest-freeze states of the northern Corn Belt are all either ahead or much ahead of average in the dent stage. The only state behind in the denting stage is Illinois -- and that figure was just three points behind average at 47% dented.
The bottom line is -- with nearly a full month left before the first freeze date, you have to think that crop progress is about as guaranteed as possible to be well on the way to maturity and not run into problems with frost.
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