The just-completed Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour turned up some newsworthy details about how corn and soybeans are faring in 2016. Some of the most dramatic details had to do with reduced production prospects in the Eastern Corn Belt compared with the official USDA estimates that came out August 12. And, a big part of the environment for those lower yields had to do with midsummer heat in the ECB.
The NOAA State of the Climate report for July 2016 notes that Ohio's average temperature was above normal, ranking it in the top 20% of July temperatures in 122 years of record-keeping. Michigan had a similar temperature profile. And, using the National Weather Service monitor at Mansfield, Ohio, the comparison to normal of temperatures for the summer season is even more stark. The Mansfield, Ohio, weather monitoring site had an average temperature of 70.3 degrees Fahrenheit, 2.6 deg F above normal. July's average temperatures, 75.0 deg F, was 3.5 deg F above normal. And through Monday, August 22, the August average temperature at Mansfield was 76.5 deg F, an astonishing 6.0 deg F above normal.
It's this kind of prevailing heat that took its toll on crop prospects. A USDA corn development study done after the flash drought year of 2012 showed that July temperatures hold the key to corn prospects -- and that played out this year in the Eastern Corn Belt in a very tangible way.
Bryce Anderson can be reached at Bryce.firstname.lastname@example.org
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