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GDDs catching up in the Corn Belt

Jeff Caldwell 06/25/2013 @ 12:59pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Though it's not going to last too long, with cooler temperatures likely to return to much of the Corn Belt next week, 90-degree temps are going to help growing degree days (GDDs) make up some much-needed ground for the region's corn and soybean crops in the ground, weather experts say.

"With temperatures forecast near 90 the next several days, about 20 to 25 growing degree units are accumulating daily," says Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., senior ag meteorologist Harvey Freese. "This upcoming warm and sunny weather for the latter part of this week should help speed corn and soybean emergence particularly in the western Corn Belt states."

That part of the region is the one furthest behind in GDDs; from about the Iowa-Illinois state border to the west, some areas -- especially in the northern stretches -- are as far behind as 87% of normal accumulation. But, move from that line east and it's a different story. Parts of eastern Indiana, for example, are already at 120% of normal GDD buildup for this time of the year since April 1, according to data from MDA Weather Services.

"Accumulated growing degree days since April 1 have increased considerably in the eastern Midwest, and are now above normal in much of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. However, growing degree days continue to lag behind normal in the western Midwest," says MDA senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney. "Warmer temperatures this week will help to increase growing degree days considerably, especially in the western Midwest, but cool temperatures next week will once again lower growing degree day totals."


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