Ag Weather Forum

DTN Poll: Late Freeze Needed

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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Late-starting crops continue to need a notable late-arriving freeze in order to reach maturity. (DTN photo by Pamela Smith)

The question of just how long the 2019 growing season will last continues to be a point of big concern as we head into September. This question was on producers' minds during all three days of the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois during the last week of August. I'm sure it will be talked about in soon at Husker Harvest Days in central Nebraska as well.

It's hard to get an exact reading of the low-temperature situation. However, here are some details from a DTN producer poll that ran from Aug. 23-30. The poll question was:

"Crop progress is well behind average. How late does the first freeze (32 degrees Fahrenheit) need to be for your crops to reach maturity?"

We received 266 responses to that poll question.

Choices offered were the following, with the answers we received by percentages in brackets:

-- Average first date is acceptable (24%)

-- The first freeze needs to be one week later than average (16%)

-- The first freeze needs to be seven to 10 days later than average (17%)

-- The first freeze needs to be two weeks later than average (42%).

By far, the largest response came in citing the need for the first freeze to be two weeks later than average in order for crops to reach maturity.

With the extensive lag in development both at the start of the season, and then during late summer because of low temperatures in the Midwest, we need to take the weather patterns in increments of a week to 10 days -- and that pattern is looking favorable to at least hold the cold off through mid-September.

The DTN fall weather forecast does not call for an early freeze in the central U.S. However, this season got started so late, that crops in practically the entire Midwest, along with the Northern and Central Plains, will need a later-than-average first freeze in order to have a chance at something approaching normal maturity. The numbers in our poll re-emphasize that perspective. Thanks to everyone who responded.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @BAndersonDTN



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