Ag Weather Forum

Harvest Endures a Cold Snap

Mike Palmerino
By  Mike Palmerino , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
Variable temperatures over the next week may bring some better conditions for late harvest. (DTN graphic)

Latest numbers show the corn and soybean harvests running at least seven to 14 days behind normal. The lack of maturity and, therefore, late harvest of the crop is reflected in moisture content of corn and soybeans higher than usual for this time of the year. There was very little in-field drying last week, due to the lateness of the season.

Much of the soybean harvest is winding down with the exception of North Dakota, where 25% of the crop is still out in the field. Corn harvest progress ranges from a high of 74% in Nebraska to a low of 15% in North Dakota. There is a need of artificial drying for much of the remainder of the crop. The lack of availability of propane in some states, and the added cost to artificially dry the harvested grain, may lead some producers to choose to leave their remaining crop in the fields and see if it is still worth harvesting in the spring. That is especially the case in the Dakotas, where so much of the crop is still in the field.

The weather pattern during the next seven days looks about as favorable as you could expect for this time of the year, with mostly dry conditions across the Midwest and Northern Plains, along with temperatures increasing to near to above normal levels by the end of the week. We do see some model disagreement in the eight-to-10-day period, with some increase in precipitation with the U.S. model, while the European model continues on the drier side.

Winter wheat planting in the Southern Plains is nearly complete. Soil moisture conditions are much lower than they were a year ago when they were adequate to surplus in the major producing areas, but not dry enough to put any significant stress on the crop. Very cold conditions at this time will put the crop into dormancy, but should not produce any significant crop damage, as the crop is not very vulnerable to cold during prewinter development. A turn to near to above normal temperatures later this week could bring the crop back out of dormancy. Mostly dry weather is expected during the next seven days.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms in the major soybean areas of Brazil during the next five days should be enough to ease stress to developing soybeans and allow for continued planting after recent hot and dry weather. The area of Brazil that is experiencing hot and dry conditions at this time is the northeast—mostly, the state of Bahia. This will keep planting progress slow in this region. There are no major concerns in central Argentina at this time with mostly adequate soil moisture for planting and developing corn and any early soybean planting.

We will have out latest calculation of sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean for the first half of November next week. However, it is interesting to note a little El Nino characteristic of the weather pattern developing, with more Gulf and East Coast storminess expected during the next 10 days.

Michael Palmerino can be reached in at



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