The latest crop reports from the USDA indicate corn and soybean development continues to move along. At the current rate of development, most crops in the northern Plains and northwest Midwest will be safe from freezing temperatures in about another 2 weeks. Current forecast models show no signs of any significant cold weather for at least the next 10 days.
The corn harvest is beginning to move northward out of the Delta states, with many producers in Illinois expected to get the harvest underway this week. Harvest weather during the next 7-10 days looks pretty good in the Midwest with overall near to above normal temperatures and near to below normal rainfall expected.
The double-cropped soybeans in the eastern Midwest and northern Delta have suffered from a turn to hot and dry weather during the past few weeks. Short to very short topsoil moisture in Illinois now stands at 40 percent. This is the driest it has been in about 2 years. This has been compounded by the fact that many later-planted crops in the eastern Midwest are shallow-rooted due to very wet conditions during planting.
Winter wheat planting is just getting underway in the southern Plains. Topsoil moisture levels are quite variable ranging from 22 percent short to very short in south-central Kansas to 64 percent short to very short in northwest Kansas. Rainfall is expected to be limited along with episodes of hot weather during the next 7-10 days. Overall soil moisture is expected to be depleted under this pattern. This situation bears watching.
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