Ag Weather Forum

Slow March Toward Harvest

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
U.S. corn maturity, at 43%, is the slowest since 2009.

Slow crop development and wet weather is unfavorable for corn and soybeans in the western Midwest and Northern Plains. Latest crop reports indicate corn maturity is running 14 days behind normal. Leaf droppage for soybeans is seven to 10 days behind normal.

Dry weather in Indiana and Ohio is having some impact on filling crops. Across Illinois, the western Midwest and the Northern Plains, soil moisture is adequate to surplus. Corn ratings have improved slightly in Nebraska and Illinois and down a little in Minnesota. They are basically unchanged elsewhere. Ratings for soybeans are just slightly better in most states.

The outlook for the Midwest calls for wet weather to continue in the Northern Plains and western Midwest through the end of the week. Latest forecasts call for drier weather next week. Some beneficial showers and thunderstorms are expected in the eastern Midwest through the weekend.

Temperatures, which have been quite warm, will be turning colder during the next few days. Some scattered frost and light freeze conditions are possible in the Northern Plains and northwest Midwest; however, no significant damaging cold is expected.

It appears the main threat to crops going forward will be the lagging maturity, compounded by continued rain. This wet scenario will lead to a very difficult situation in getting crops down to optimal moisture levels prior to harvest.

In contrast, hot and dry weather south of the Ohio River through the Delta and Southeast U.S. is expected to significantly reduce yields for filling soybeans.

Winter wheat planting in the Southern Plains is running at near-normal levels. Scattered showers and thunderstorms through Friday will favor planting and emergence.

Across South America, we have not seen enough rain in west-central Brazil yet to initiate widespread soybean planting. However, we are expecting additional episodes of scattered showers and thunderstorms during the next week, which should allow for increased planting.

Argentina corn planting is underway. However, there are dryness concerns. This could be an area that bears watching if sea surface temperatures in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean remain below normal. Drought in central Argentina correlates quite well with cool sea surface temperatures.

Michael Palmerino can be reached at



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