The week of November 20-26, encompassing the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, was very favorable for corn harvest. Even the wettest areas of the northern and eastern Midwest saw some progress. In the western Midwest, the Iowa state climatologist noted that November 2017 was the driest fall month in Iowa since 10 years ago in November 2007. Nationally, corn harvest is close to completion at 95 percent. However, northern and eastern states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania are still less than 90 percent complete as of Sunday, November 26.
Through the next five days, harvest conditions remain favorable. Some rain showers may develop in the six-to-10-day time frame. Placement of these showers will be important for the impact on late-stage harvest in the northern and eastern Midwest.
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In the Southern Plains, increasing dryness along with episodes of much-above-normal temperatures have caused winter wheat crop ratings to slide. The drop-off in ratings started last week in Texas and Oklahoma. This week it expanded into Kansas and Colorado with all states except Nebraska seeing a reduction in good to excellent ratings of between 5 and 7 percentage points. The outlook for the next week calls for mostly dry weather with near- to above-normal temperatures. The eight-to-10-day forecast continues with a drier pattern. This is consistent with the weak La Nina temperature and pressure event that has developed in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
In South America, favorable conditions remain in Brazil with a more normal rainfall pattern now established in central Brazil and wet soils in southern Brazil. The main question now is how much second-crop corn (safrinha) will be planted in central Brazil. This will be dictated by soybean harvest progress and how long the wet season lasts into the Southern Hemisphere fall season. Farther south, soils have been drying out in central Argentina. At this point it has not been of major concern since no persistent heat has been observed. However, this situation bears watching as La Nina conditions do tend to promote drier-than-normal conditions in Argentina.
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