Ag Weather Forum

Delayed Development Goes On

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Iowa corn is 41% in the silking stage as of July 21. States like Michigan and South Dakota are still under 10%. (DTN photo by Elaine Shein)

Corn and soybean development remains well behind normal in the Midwest. Corn silking is running seven to 10 days behind normal in the western Midwest, and as much as 2 1/2 weeks behind normal in the eastern Midwest. Soybean development is running one to two weeks behind normal in the western Midwest, and around two to three weeks behind normal in the east.

Of the major producing states, Nebraska continues to fare the best with 77% of the corn in good-to-excellent condition and 73% of the soybeans. Good-to-excellent conditions for corn and soybeans are only running between 57 to 60% in Minnesota, and 63 to 64% in Iowa. In the eastern Midwest, Illinois ranges from 43 to 45%, Indiana 35 to 36%, and Ohio shows only 35% of the state's corn and only 30% of the soybeans in good-to-excellent condition.

Again, the main issue facing corn and soybeans this growing season is the late planting, which has led to much-delayed crop development, and low crop ratings, especially over eastern areas.

It seems unlikely that crops will catch up to normal this growing season. This will lead to a very critical fall weather forecast.

Crops will need the first freeze of the season to occur weeks beyond normal in order to ensure most make it to maturity. If an early freeze does occur, it could be one of the most damaging since 1974. In terms of how far ahead you can issue an early freeze forecast, my answer would be no more than five to seven days, as everything has to come together perfectly in order for one to occur; and, oftentimes, if you miss out on one it can take weeks for another to materialize.

The fact that we are not able to persist with very hot weather in the Midwest is a good sign for crops through the summer, and would be very favorable if they were developing at more normal levels. We would expect to finish off July with no significant heat or moisture stress in the Midwest, with no reason to think that will change as we move into August.

Mike Palmerino can be reached at



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