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Crop weather starter: Rain north and south

Jeff Caldwell 11/18/2013 @ 9:29am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

After a weekend of rare and severe late-season tornadoes and thunderstorms that blanketed much of the Corn Belt, a shift to cooler, more seasonal temperatures is in store. But that doesn't mean the precipitation is over in the short-term, and that could cause headaches this week for farmers with corn and soybeans left to harvest. That makes the next few days -- when forecasters agree will be mostly dry -- critical to wrapping up fall fieldwork.

"The showers in the Midwest and Delta will slow any remaining corn and soybean harvesting, although little harvesting remains to be done," says Don Keeney, senior ag meteorologist with MDA Weather Services.

Weekend storms that brought a range of conditions from mild thunderstorms to devastating, destructive tornadoes in parts of Illinois and Indiana (the storms triggered 125 tornado warnings and 220 severe thunderstorm warnings in the Midwest, according to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet) dropped the harvest-delaying moisture. But data coming in USDA's weekly Crop Progress report Monday afternoon is expected to show just a few acres left to harvest.

"Overall, with favorable harvest weather today through Wednesday, most of the remaining summer crops will likely be harvested," says Harvey Freese of Freese-Notis Weather. "Harvesting delays are likely Thursday and Friday for the southern Plains, central/eastern Midwest, and Delta with a return to drier weather this weekend."

Meanwhile in South America, rain is the big weather story. For the most part, the biggest story there has been a shortage of rain leading up to corn and soybean planting. But now, rains are starting to build in parts of Brazil, while much of that nation and Argentina will remain on the dry side for the balance of this week. The start to that region's Safrinha crops is being watched closely by the trade in the U.S., as South American crop prospects will go a long way to providing grain futures price support one way or another through the winter.

"Rains were limited across most areas this past weekend, and this pattern should continue this week. This will allow wetness to ease further in north-central areas, and corn, soybean, and sunflower planting should progress well. Moisture will likely decline a bit again in Buenos Aires, although no major dryness or stress is expected. Showers in the six- to 10-day period should begin to improve moisture a bit once again. However, showers in north-central areas in the six- to 10-day period will also slow planting there again," Keeney says of Argentina. "In Brazil, rains were widespread across central and southern areas this past weekend, which helped to further improve moisture for corn and soybean early growth. Additional improvements are expected there this week, as well as in northwestern areas."

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