Ag Weather Forum

Crop Ratings and Ocean Temps Status Quo

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Besides crop ratings remaining stable, Pacific Ocean temperatures are also showing a flat trend in early September. (NOAA/NESDIS graphic)

This week finds mostly stable ratings in the Midwest, except corn ratings are down a little in Nebraska, with soybean ratings down slightly in Minnesota; both occurrences are possibly due to too much rain. Elsewhere, both corn and soybean ratings are up a little in Iowa and Indiana. Corn ratings are unchanged in North Dakota. Soybean ratings were up by four percentage points, due to some beneficial rainfall early last week

Topsoil moisture is mostly adequate in the Midwest and has shown some significant improvement in the chronically dry areas of Missouri and southern Iowa.

The overall weather pattern during the next six to 10 days will feature a strong trough off the coast of the northwest U.S. extending into the interior western U.S. Meanwhile, upper-atmosphere ridging will continue over the eastern U.S. into the western Atlantic Ocean. Unlike the past week when the ridge in the east opened up Gulf of Mexico moisture into much of the central U.S., this latest ridge pattern may extend further west into the central U.S. Also, a tropical system situated along a break in the ridge along the East Coast could tie up available moisture. This will be a favorable weather pattern for maturing corn and soybeans and any early harvesting, with near to above normal temperatures and mostly below normal rainfall.

At this time, soil moisture levels are pretty good in the Southern Plains due to recent and current rainfall. However, with hot and mostly dry weather indicated during the six- to 10-day period, soil moisture will be depleted. This situation bears watching as we head into winter wheat planting season.

Finally, our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean for the month of August was 0.0. This is down from 0.4 degree Celsius above normal during the month of July. What we are seeing at this time is that some warming in the central Pacific is being offset by cooling in the east. Models are still forecasting an El Nino to develop in the coming months. However, its strength and location in the Pacific are questionable at this time.

Mike Palmerino can be reached at



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