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Weather starter: Rain, frost, and more rain

Jeff Caldwell 09/16/2013 @ 8:47am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Rain moved through the Midwest over the weekend, but it wasn't quite as much as earlier anticipated. It's not over, though.

Rainfall is expected to continue to traverse the Corn Belt this week, though it's likely too late to do much good for famished corn and soybean crops, some of which have seen less than 25% of normal rainfall this summer.

"Rains should continue in the west-central Midwest through midweek, but should then increase across central and eastern areas later this week. The rains will continue to build moisture supplies, but will be too late to improve yield prospects for corn and soybeans," says MDA Weather Services senior ag meteorologist Don Keeney. "In fact, the rains in the southern Midwest and northern Delta later this week will slow corn drydown and early harvesting."

Though field drying will be hampered in some areas, the general trend won't be one of major interruptions yet, according to Monday's Commodity Weather Group (CWG) Ag QUICKsheet.

"Showers will aid much of the remaining one third of the Midwest that is still most notably dry (parts of Illinois/Missouri/Iowa/South Dakota), but chances for notable recovery in soybean yields at this late date are low," according to CWG. "Showers then favor the northwestern Midwest in the 6- to 15-day, but only minor harvest impacts are expected."

New data Monday from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM) shows an example of just how deep the moisture deficit has been this summer in some locations; one area in the northwest quarter of Iowa shows less rainfall in some spots than in the same period a year ago, when drought was severe and widespread.

"The driest part of the state has been the around the Rockwell City area with less than 20% of average amount received," according to IEM commentary Monday morning. "All of the state is shown below 70% with the extreme northwestern portions faring the best."


Frost worries rising

Agriculture.com Marketing Talk adviser Red Steele says the temperature wasn't far from the freezing mark this morning on his farm in southern Minnesota. "My truck thermometer says 38 degrees at 7:00 a.m., and light frost in the road ditches," he says.

Though Marketing Talk senior contributor farmerguy89 says it didn't hit at his place, he says there is a risk in the next few days.

Though it's inevitable that it will hit soon, the widespread risk of a freeze hitting now, curtailing any crop development that's left in the field, remains fairly low, MDA's Keeney says.

"There is certainly frost in northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, but the lowest temps I’m seeing in southern Minnesota are high 30s," he adds. "I suspect there may be an isolated case of frost in a valley there, but this is certainly the exception."

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