Ag Weather Forum

Crop Ratings Improve

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Drier, cooler weather in the western Midwest is helping to improve crop conditions. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

Crop ratings for corn and soybeans have improved in the major Midwest growing areas.

Good/excellent ratings for corn and soybeans in the major producing states of the Midwest is generally up by 1 to 2 points during the past week.

This was due to favorably wetter weather in the eastern Midwest and favorably drier weather in the western Midwest. Topsoil moisture conditions in the western Midwest and Northern Plains compared to a year ago are much wetter. Last year Iowa was 52% short, this year 15%. Nebraska was 71% short a year ago, this year 19%. South Dakota was 82% a year ago, this year 16%. North Dakota was 67% a year ago, this year 12%.

We expect to see a further improvement in crop ratings next week in the Midwest and Northern Plains as the weather this week will feature near to below normal temperatures along with enough rain to maintain adequate topsoil moisture. This will essentially be stress-free conditions for pollinating and filling corn and developing and filling soybeans. Crop development for corn and soybeans continues to run well ahead of normal. It appears likely that most crops will not be vulnerable to an early freeze this fall if one were to occur.

Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the equatorial eastern Pacific for the first half of July is plus 0.7. This is up from plus 0.5 during June.

An El Nino appears likely during this fall. This rise in sea surface temperatures would suggest that it is unlikely that any stressful hot/dry weather pattern will develop in the Midwest or Northern Plains during the remainder of this growing season.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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10/22/2018 | 11:19 AM CDT