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Speedy harvest weather
I would look for the national soybean harvest progress number this afternoon to come in at 84 percent, which would make this by far the fastest harvest season ever recorded (previous fast was only 78 percent in 2005). Look for the corn harvest progress figure to be 69 percent done, which would tie with 2000 as the third fastest ever (behind the 74 percent completion mark seen in both 1987 and 1991).
While fast maturing crops certainly helped get the harvest rolling early this year, it has been dry weather in late September and so far in October that has really made the difference. The entire Corn Belt (as well as the Plains, Delta, and Southeast) has had below normal rainfall since October 1, with the bulk of that area seeing under 25% of normal moisture (which would equate to a lot of areas seeing under a tenth of an inch of rain during that period). We are not far though from getting things a good deal wetter once again for the Nation's midsection. This work-week period is still going to feature very little rain for the northern Plains, most of the Corn Belt, the Delta, and the Southeast.
However, for especially Thursday and Friday there will be rains breaking out in the southern Plains, and the upper level low pressure system responsible for that rain (the same system that the models struggled with all last week, but now finally appear to have a handle on) will track east/northeast and (combined with other factors) will make for a wet six-to-ten day forecast period for especially the Corn Belt and the Delta. All of this is particularly good news for winter wheat prospects, as we either have a young winter wheat crop suffering for moisture, have winter wheat seeds that are in the ground but are sitting in dry dirt (and thus have not germinated), or have winter wheat seeds that are still in the seed bag waiting to be planted once the next rain falls.
Drier areas of the hard-red winter wheat belt of the southern Plains should see 0.25-1.00" rains through the end of the work-week, and I can envision a lot of rainfall amounts of over an inch in the 6-10 day time frame for much of the soft-red winter wheat belt of the Corn Belt and the Delta. The rain threat will bring warmer temperatures with it, as the first half of next week looks quite warm for much of the Mississippi River Valley.
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