Despite more open days for fieldwork, the soybean harvest remains well behind normal in the western Midwest and Northern Plains. The corn harvest is also behind normal in this region, with the exception of Minnesota, where it is running near normal.
Soybean harvest progress continues to run well behind normal in the western Midwest and Northern Plains due to wet soils and limited drying ability at this time of the year. The Oct. 21 harvest progress for soybeans in Iowa of 37% was the smallest amount of beans harvested for this date since 1985. The soybean harvest in Minnesota is running 10 days behind normal. There was not much change in crop ratings in the Midwest during the past week, due to more favorable weather after the sharp decline the previous week. More favorable weather in North Dakota led to a 3-percentage-point rise in good-to-excellent conditions for corn, 5% for soybeans. Harvest progress for both corn and soybeans remains mostly ahead of normal in the eastern Midwest.
The overall weather pattern during the next six to 10 days is expected to feature deteriorating weather for the harvest. We expect to see episodes of light to locally moderate precipitation in the Midwest through early next week. More significant precipitation is expected mid to late next week. This will be due to the development of a major trough over the Rockies and Plains, and a ridge over the eastern U.S. The boundary zone between the trough to the west and the ridge to the east will be the focus of significant precipitation. Harvest delays will lead to continued quality issues for soybeans as well as some crop losses.
Adequate to surplus soil moisture in the Southern Plains is very favorable for pre-winter development of wheat. However, the wet weather has slowed planting in the major growing states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, with progress behind normal in all three states.
We continue to see very favorable weather for planting and developing soybeans in the major growing areas of Brazil. We are now seeing signs of more frequent episodes of scattered showers and thunderstorms in central Brazil as the main rainy season gets underway. With an El Nino forecast during the growing season, we would expect favorable weather to continue. The only area that may be dry would be in the far northeast growing areas (Bahia). Favorable conditions are also seen at this time for corn and soybean planting in central Argentina.
Our latest calculation of the sea surface temperature departure in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean stands at plus 1.2 degrees Celsius for the first half of October. This is up from plus 0.4 in September. This would suggest that El Nino conditions are now underway, although atmospheric conditions which would be needed for long-term sustainability of El Nino are still in the neutral range.
Michael Palmerino can be reached at Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
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