Ag Weather Forum

Early November Harvest Forecast

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , Ag Meteorologist Emeritus
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After a midweek rain and snow event, conditions turn notably drier in the western Midwest, Plains and Delta, with mostly below normal precipitation through Nov. 7. (Tropical Tidbits graphic)

You've seen the harvest progress numbers. U.S. corn harvest is only 41% done as of Oct. 27; soybean harvest is only 62% done. So, there's well over half the corn crop yet to be brought in, and close to 40% of the soybean crop yet to be taken out of the field. And, to make matters worse, we're done with October. These big crop portions will have to be brought in during -- gulp! -- November. November -- not yet a winter month, but very close. November -- with angry gray skies; clouds that look like they don't want to be there; rain that is likely to go sideways as it falls; and snow that does the same thing. And then, there's the temperature. Daylight hours are rapidly declining, the sun angle is low, and there's minimal heating when old Sol is even out. And now, we've got to harvest in this.

It does look like the weather pattern is giving producers a fighting chance to make some headway. It'll be slow, because that's how November is -- the month's character does not permit it to offer the gold and orange-hued James Whitcomb Riley "When the Frost is On the Punkin" scene -- that's reserved for October (in most years).

But, at least the weather scene has a drier trend through the first week of November. Following an energetic storm system that's going to cross the central and eastern U.S. through Oct. 31, things get quieter pretty fast. High pressure sets in over the first 10 days of November, and high pressure is a drier weather-maker. Of course, November being November, the temperature pattern is going to be cold -- below to much below normal. That's the tradeoff in order to have high pressure dry things out. But, considering where we are on harvest progress, we can't be too choosy at this point.

Northern states will have the biggest benefit from drier and colder weather. But, with so much work to be done, these conditions will be useful everywhere.

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

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