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Snow dusts Corn Belt

10/22/2013 @ 7:30am

Alas, the Crop Progress Report is out! Examining the corn progress, US-wide corn maturity is up to 94%, with Iowa's crop 94% mature, Illinois 97%, and Minnesota 95%. These are only a few percentage points below the 2008-2012 average.

In terms of harvest, total US harvest percentage is up to 39%, which is 14% behind normal. Iowa's corn crop is 35% harvested in contrast to soybeans where 70% are harvested. For Minnesota, only 19% of corn has been harvested while 80% of soybeans have been harvested. This past week Iowa experienced 5.4 suitable days for fieldwork, Minnesota only had 3 days, while Illinois saw 5.7 days suitable for fieldwork.

Examining corn condition, Iowa has the lowest percentage of good+excellent health across the Midwest with 37% of the crop in good health, and only 8% in excellent condition. Minnesota, Illinois, and Indiana are all similar with around 45% of the corn crop in good health and, on average, 23% in excellent condition. Iowa seems to have been hit hardest with this summer's dryness as corn yields have been quite variable from district to district.

Fortunately, the weather for the remainder of the week looks promising for harvest. Current moisture content for Iowa corn in the field is, on average, 22%, with 19% moisture content for harvested corn. This morning some rain will fall, mixed with snow at times across Iowa and central Illinois. Most rainfall amounts will amount to 0.25" or less. 1-2" of snow may fall locally in north/central Illinois.

Another weak and moisture-starved system will drop into the Midwest Wednesday with only light intermittent showers expected. The remainder of the week looks dry for the majority of the Midwest as a large Canadian surface ridge builds into the area. I would expect at least 5 days of suitable fieldwork for most by week's end. With current harvest progress taken into consideration, this should bring much of the Midwestern corn harvest to 65-70% complete, with soybeans 80-85% harvested. Heading into next week, models are converging on a solution consisting of a rather vigorous upper-level trough digging into the western US.

The surface reflection of this trough will be the potential for widespread showers across the Midwest sometime during the Monday-Tuesday timeframe. Much uncertainty exists with this scenario as European ensembles show considerable spread in rainfall totals during the 6-10 day timeframe. Regardless, the possibility looms for some fieldwork delays early next week. Also, temperatures do appear to moderate days 6-10 and especially 11-15 despite below to well-below normal temps the next 5 days.

A frost/hard freeze already occurred across IL this morning, with more frost/freeze potential this week, especially Friday morning as we will be under the influence of a large dome of high pressure. These cool temps in the near term should foster crop drydown and lower field moisture percentages, especially this weekend.


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