Cool, Dry October Ahead
The Midwest is expected to experience warmer temperatures as we move into September, but encounter cooler conditions, overall, looking at the 31- to 60-day trend. Drier weather is also expected to sweep across the Corn Belt over the next 60 days, and, according to El Niño’s records, October should pan out to be drier than September. See details below.
Outlook for August 30 – September 8
Most of the Midwest will experience cooler temperatures this week. However, as of Tuesday, August 25, the six- to 15-day forecast looks to be warmer, with overnight low temperatures expected to be five to eight degrees above normal, according to MDA Weather Services.
While these warmer overnight lows could potentially cause some stress on corn kernel filling, Kyle Tapley, senior agriculture meteorologist for MDA Weather Services, says it should not pose a major threat.
“First, the corn crop is already nearing maturity in southern areas,” says Tapley. “Second, by early September, even much-above normal temperatures would allow lows to drop into the 60s in most areas.”
31- to 60-Day Outlook
The 31- to 60-day forecast has trended warmer for the northwestern Plains, Pacific Northwest, and western Prairies, but cooler for the Midwest, Delta, and Southeast regions.
The Midwest, Delta, Southeast, and southern Plains are forecasted to have drier weather over the next 60 days, favoring corn and soybean harvest and winter wheat planting.
“However, the drier pattern in the southern Midwest, Delta, and central Plains would reduce moisture and stress winter wheat germination,” says Don Keeney, senior agriculture meteorologist for MDA Weather Services.
MDA Weather Services reports that two areas – east-central Illinois/west-central Indiana and northeast Iowa/southwestern Wisconsin – are two areas in the Midwest that have experienced prolonged dryness.
Dry weather is expected over the next 10 days, increasing current conditions.
The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that much of the Midwest remains drought-free, with the exception of southwestern Wisconsin.
El Niño By Month
October tends to be the driest month of harvest season during El Niño, with the majority of wet conditions occurring across the western Midwest in September, according to MDA Weather Services.
Historically, El Niño doesn’t present major issues for harvest season in the Midwest.
“Of the four strong El Niño Years, where USDA harvest progress data is available, harvesting was well ahead of normal during three of those years – 1997, 1991, and 1987 – and was slightly behind normal in the remaining year of 1982,” says Tapley.