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Big chill on the way

The fall harvest of three years ago is remembered for its slow pace (and its big crop size), while this year's harvest is clearly going to remembered for its quickness (and small crop size). 54 percent of the Nation's corn crop had been cut as of this past Sunday, easily the largest amount ever for that date (easily surpassing the 38 percent figure of 1991).

During the 2009 harvest season, the national corn harvest pace did not reach 54 percent completion until November 15th! 41 percent of this year's soybean crop had been cut as of September 30, also record fast for the date (surpassing the old mark of 35 percent set in 2000). We were almost to the last full week of October in 2009 before the national soybean harvest pace that year reached the 41 percent completion mark.

There is easily enough dry weather in the forecast to get a lot of additional harvesting done this week, to the point where there will be areas that start to see the fall harvest draw to completion. We should have no trouble in reaching another round of record-fast harvest pace figures for next week's report (records for that date are 51 percent for corn set in 1991, and 55 percent for soybeans set in 2000; in other words, we could harvest NO corn this week in the Nation and STILL have a record-fast harvest pace for that crop as of October 7!!!).

The big story with regards to weather for the Nation's midsection is the turn to much colder temperatures for the end of this week and right into the middle of this month. It will easily be the coldest temperatures seen since last winter, with sizable parts of the Midwest seeing highs just in the 40s for the weekend.

The bulk of the Midwest will see temperatures below freezing on Sunday morning. Precipitation looks quite limited for next week which means continued worsening of drought conditions for the northwestern Corn Belt. What rain falls next week will probably be directed mostly to the southern Plains, and even there should not be heavy.

Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved

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