Ag Weather Forum

Hot July Affected Corn

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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A look at July U.S. temperatures shows that the Eastern Corn Belt, notably Ohio and Michigan, had yield potential curbed by above-normal conditions -- warmer than normal. (NOAA graphic by Nick Scalise)

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.

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Bryce Anderson
8/29/2016 | 7:46 AM CDT
It will be interesting to see how things play out. The crop tour's corn estimate of 170.2 bushels per acre was certainly a departure from the USDA 175.1.
8/29/2016 | 7:39 AM CDT
I don't think pro farmer or USDA is even close on Ohio or Michigan estiments. They did not tour the really bad areas. Have heard of corn being chopped for silage with no ear on it here in Michigan. Sounds to me there are some very poor spots in every state that no one takes into consideration.