Ag Weather Forum

Slow Return to Harvest Expected

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
The development of upper-level high pressure (a ridge) over central North America during the next week to 10 days suggests drier conditions for wettest areas of the Corn Belt, and some improvement in harvest progress. ( graphic)

Soybean harvest progress is now running well behind normal in the western Midwest and Northern Plains. Corn harvest is now at or somewhat behind normal. The Oct. 14 harvest progress for soybeans in Iowa of 19% was the smallest amount of beans harvested for this date since records began. Minnesota had the fewest days suitable for fieldwork (1.1) last week since the week of April 22. We are also seeing a decline in crop ratings for soybeans with good-to-excellent conditions down by 7 percentage points in North Dakota, 5 points in Iowa and 2 points in Nebraska and Minnesota.

The major declines in Iowa and North Dakota would imply crop quality issues and possibly crop losses. Meanwhile, harvest weather was much better in the eastern Midwest, with both corn and soybean harvest progress still running ahead of normal.

The overall weather pattern during the next six-to-10 days is expected to feature improving harvest conditions. We expect very little precipitation in the Midwest and Northern Plains. However, cool and unsettled weather through the rest of this week will slow drying and maintain the slow harvest progress. During the six- to 10-day period, we expect to see a turn to near- to above-normal temperatures as some ridging develops over the north-central U.S. This will improve harvest conditions.

In South America, we continue to see soybean planting progress running ahead of normal in Brazil and the earliest in a number of years. Enough rain is occurring to support the crop in most areas. It continues to look like some early harvest by the end of the year. This has not happened in recent years due to the later starts of the rainy season. This also bodes well for second-crop corn (safrinha), which could get planted earlier this year and that favors higher production. Corn planting is underway in central Argentina with soybeans soon to follow. Soil moisture is mostly adequate to support crop emergence and development. With neutral or El Nino conditions expected during the growing season very favorable weather conditions are likely in both Brazil and Argentina.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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