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It’s Going to Be a Fight to the Harvest Finish Line, Weatherman Says

Rain returns to the Midwest in 10 days.

DES MOINES, Iowa -- All eyes to the sky, as Midwest farmers face catching up to normal harvest paces following drenching rains in late September and the entire first half of October.

As of Sunday, only 19% of the Iowa’s soybean crop had been harvested. That’s behind its five-year average of 51% and the smallest percentage of the soybean crop harvested by October 14 since records began. Minnesota, Nebraska, Michigan, and South Dakota all trail their five-year averages, as well.

Iowa, the No. 1 U.S. corn-producing state, at 17% harvested, is only halfway to reaching its five-year picking pace, for this time of the year.

See more on the USDA Crop Progress Report.

Good News For October

Dale Mohler, AccuWeather meteorologist, says that farmers should take advantage of the next 10-day window for harvesting because things could change.

There is good news for the Midwest, regarding weather, for the next 10 days to two weeks.

Iowa, northern Missouri, northern Ohio, and Minnesota can expect dry, open weather for the next week, according to the meteorologist.

“Instead of a west, southwest flow of a weather pattern, it’s now a northwesterly flow, meaning drier air from Canada. This will dominate the weather across the northern half of the U.S. well into next week,” Mohler says.

It won’t be completely dry, but the soaking rainstorms that occurred in the first half of the month are not expected, he says.

“We’re looking at drier and chillier weather. I think there will be a fair amount of sunshine throughout the Midwest. Plus, there will be strong winds that should help these fields dry out, too,” Mohler says.

In addition, the numerous days of humidity so far this fall will end. “That kind of stuff is history,” Mohler says. If there is any rain to deal with, it will be around the Ohio River, stretching from southeast Missouri to southern Ohio.

November Weather Outlook

Because of the slow harvest pace, many states will stretch the crop-gathering chores into November. And this is where the harvest story turns negative again.

“There will be fairly frequent amounts of storms and fronts that come through the Midwest. I don’t expect November to give us many breaks. “We’re going to have to fight to get to the finish line, as far as the harvest this year.”

He added, “Farmers are going to have to take advantage of this window that we have in the last part of October.”

Mohler says that he realizes that getting back into a wetter pattern is not what folks want to hear.

“Especially for those farmers who have a long way to go and are way behind on soybean harvest,” Mohler says.

November, although seen to be close to normal, is expected to be a month that brings multiple storms.

“It looks like a number of storms will track from the Pacific Northwest across the northern Plains and into the Midwest. But, by and large, the first storm that comes through next week won’t have a lot of precipitation, but the pattern could turn stormier and wetter into November,” Mohler says.

The rain events will not reach the record-rainfall levels that the western Corn Belt witnessed this fall.

“But we could go back to a pattern where it’s raining once every three or four days, which would slow harvest back down a bit,” Mohler says.
 

Winter On Time

Mohler suggests that the Midwest will not have a rapid transition into winter, this year.

“There will be some milder days, once we get through November and December, but the march toward colder weather is inevitable,” Mohler says.

“By December, the ground will start to freeze. I don’t think winter is coming early, this year. I think it’s coming pretty close to on-time,” he says.

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