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Harvest gains traction

Jeff Caldwell 09/16/2011 @ 11:22am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Now that this week's frost threat has come and gone for the bulk of the Corn Belt, it looks to be warming up over the next few days, allowing corn and soybean harvest to really get rolling...if it stays dry enough.

Temperatures should moderate over the next 2 weeks in the nation's midsection. Though the warmup will be accompanied by some rainfall over the next few days, it looks like the trend will turn drier later next week, according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., meteorologist Craig Solberg.

"No other freeze threats are in the 10-day forecast for the Midwest, and it still looks to turn exceptionally warm in the western Corn Belt and northern Plains for September 22 through 25," Solberg said Friday. "There will be rains around the Nation's midsection for today through about Tuesday of next week."

The heaviest rainfall totals, Solberg adds, will likely come in the Plains and mid-South, with some 2- to 3-inch totals by the middle of next week.

"Beyond that, the weather pattern turns dry again with much of the Nation looking drier-than- normal for the 6-10 day period and likely continuing into the 11-15 day time frame," he adds. "With that forecast in mind look for a lot of corn and soybeans to be cut during the last ten days of this month of September."

Adds Don Keeney of MDA EarthSat Weather: "Our precipitation outlook has trended drier across the eastern Midwest and northern Delta, where near to below normal readings are expected. The drier weather there, as well as in the northwestern Midwest, southern Delta, and Southeast will allow corn, soybean, and cotton harvesting to progress well."


But, that's already well underway in the southern reaches of the Corn Belt. And yields aren't exactly scraping the sky, farmers say.

"We have 878 acres out in south central Illinois. Yields running 135-145 bu/acre at 15%. APH 183-196 bu/acre. The rain in late May and June hurt us more than the heat and dryness," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk contributor breakout 99. "Talked to a neighbor with a field that drains exceptionally well that went just over 200. It was as hot and dry as the rest but no water damage."

And, even though the frost is in the rearview mirror, farmers are still wary of damage as they get into the field. "I now know for sure that the frost got the best of the crops," says southern Minnesota farmer and Marketing Talk member fbf2574789. "On the drive home, the beans that were green yesterday were turning black today. Yeild and quality is going to be affected. This is not a small area."

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