Good-to-excellent corn ratings in the Midwest are within 1 point of a week ago. Soybean ratings were up by 2 points in Nebraska, down by 2 points in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana, unchanged in Iowa and Ohio. Soil moisture levels throughout the Midwest do not support any downturn in ratings. The values may just indicate crop maturation. We are looking at soil moisture levels that are significantly better than they were a year ago throughout the Midwest. Soils are dry in the Northern Plains, running at 50% short-very short in North Dakota.
The overall weather pattern during the next six to 10 days will feature a trough over the interior western U.S. and a ridge in the eastern U.S. and western Atlantic. This will be an active rainfall pattern in the western Midwest and Plains, which will be located along the boundary zone between the trough to the west and the ridge to the east. This pattern will disrupt the early harvest of corn and soybeans in the western Midwest, but will provide soil moisture for wheat planting in the Southern Plains. There is no concern about an early freeze with near- to above-normal temperatures expected in the Midwest.
In South America, recent and forecast episodes of scattered showers and thunderstorms in central Brazil are leading to one of the earliest starts to soybean planting in the past several years. With the lack of any El Nino development at this time, we do not expect to see a significant delay in the development of the rainy season this year. Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial Pacific for the first half of September was +0.2. This is up slightly from 0.0 during the month of August, but well within neutral levels.
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