Ag Weather Forum

Favorable Early-Autumn Crop Scenario

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The U.S. soybean harvest is off to a good start, at 14 percent complete compared with 8 percent for the five-year average. (DTN photo by Pam Smith)

Crop condition and progress remains on track for big totals this year. Despite last week's heavy rain and fieldwork disruption in the Upper Midwest, corn and soybean harvest nationwide remained ahead of the average pace, according to the weekly USDA Crop Progress report.

As of Sept. 23, 16% of corn was harvested, 6 percentage points ahead of last year's pace of 10% and 5 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 11%. Soybeans were 14% harvested, 5 percentage points ahead of last year's 9% and 6 percentage points ahead of the average of 8%.

Both crops also continued to reach maturity at an ahead-of-normal pace. Seventy-two percent of corn was estimated mature as of Sept. 23, 19 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 53%. The percentage of soybeans dropping leaves was estimated at 71%, 14 percentage points ahead of the average pace of 57%.

The good-to-excellent corn ratings in the Midwest improved by 3 percentage points in Illinois and 2 points in Indiana. Ratings were nearly unchanged elsewhere. Soybean ratings improved by 4 percentage points in Minnesota and 2 points in Illinois. These states both saw declining ratings a week ago, which we could not explain. Elsewhere, ratings were down 2 percentage points in Ohio which we cannot explain. Condition ratings were generally unchanged elsewhere. Improving rainfall in North Dakota led to a 4-point increase in good-to-excellent ratings for corn and a 3-point increase for soybeans.

The overall weather pattern during the next six to 10 days will feature a trough in the western U.S. and a ridge over the eastern U.S. and the western Atlantic Ocean. Disturbances will move out of the trough in the west, and move up and over the ridge in the east. It appears that the ridge will extend far enough to the west to limit rainfall in the Midwest. No significant cold weather is expected, due to the prevailing southerly flow aloft. This pattern should generally favor maturing and harvesting corn and soybeans, along with allowing for continued harvest progress.

Topsoil moisture supplies for planting and developing winter wheat in the Southern Plains looks good with the exception of the Texas Panhandle. This, combined with warm weather, will favor pre-winter establishment.

In Brazil, scattered rainfall in Mato Grosso is indicated during the next week. Soybean planting will likely slow down a bit due to the more-scattered rainfall pattern, along with periods of high temperatures. Early-season rain has soybean planting off to a good start, notably in the state of Parana, in south-central Brazil.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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