The latest state crop reports indicate improving corn and soybean development in the Midwest and Northern Plains. Crop development numbers were a concern at the beginning of the month for potential vulnerability to an early freeze. However, this concern is fading rapidly as recent warm weather has improved crop development.
Even if a freeze were to occur in the Northern Plains and northwest Midwest between now and the end of the month, it appears little damage would occur. At this time, there is no significant freezing weather in sight for these areas.
Crop ratings for corn in the major growing areas were mostly unchanged during the past week. However, ratings did drop in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois possibly due to warm/dry weather affecting the later-filling crop.
Winter wheat planting is increasing in the Southern Plains. The recent decrease in topsoil moisture was becoming a cause for concern. However, some beneficial moderate-to-heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected over the weekend into early next week.
On a final but significant note, our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the equatorial eastern pacific for the first half of September has fallen to 1.1 degrees Celsius below normal. This is down from 0.3 degrees Celsius below normal in August and would indicate La Nina conditions have developed.
La Nina conditions do tend to produce drought in the major corn and soybean areas of central Argentina. They also tend to produce drier-than-normal conditions in the central U.S. We have noted that topsoil moisture conditions in the central U.S. are much drier in most states than they were a year ago.
Any rains that occur this fall, unless excessive, should be welcomed by producers to recharge soil moisture with the uncertainties of the potential impact of La Nina during the 2018 growing season.
Michael Palmerino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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