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Stand By, Corn Farmers! October Rainfest Is Coming

Wet pattern starts the month in the western Corn Belt.

DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. farmers may face numerous stoppages of harvest activity in October due to wet conditions.

While harvest is ahead of schedule, initially the delays shouldn’t have big impacts.

The problem areas remain northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, where already wet fields could have a hard time drying out. It’s possible that low-lying fields in those areas will have to wait for a hard frost in November to be harvested.

Dry Weekend Then October Rainfest

Short-term, the Midwest could see a drier pattern, this weekend, Mohler says.

“That early week front, next week, will be followed by another front late in the week,” Mohler says. “And each of those will move slowly through the Midwest, bringing fairly widespread rainfall and delays in harvest.”

However, the entire month of October could have periods of heavy rainfall events in the Corn Belt, according to Dale Mohler, AccuWeather meteorologist.

“Yes, it looks like October’s harvest weather looks wetter than farmers would like to see,” Mohler says.

The wet weather, especially for the northern part of the Corn Belt, will last long enough into midmonth to cause significant harvest delays, Mohler says.

“The trough that is determining the storm track is too far to the west, centered over the Plains states. So on the east side of the trough, there is a southwest flow, and that allows moisture from the Gulf to come up into the Corn Belt,” Mohler says.

These fronts will trigger a lot of rain.

“We will see one of these fronts come through the Midwest as early as next week,” Mohler says.

Second Half Of October

The emphasis of the wetness in October is expected to shift from the western Corn Belt (WCB) to the east.

“The above-normal rainfall does shift to east of the Mississippi River,” Mohler says.” As a result, it may get drier in Minnesota, Nebraska, western Iowa, and the Dakotas.”

Frost Is Coming

With the U.S. crops maturing at a faster-than-normal pace, any frost from this point forward is not expected to cause much damage, Mohler says.

“There could be some frosting occurring in the northern Corn Belt this weekend. But it won’t be low enough or long enough to cause any problems. Plus, we’re hovering around the normal dates for a first frost in the colder states,” Mohler says.

A Winter El Niño

Right now, the weather models are showing that El Niño, the weather phenomenon that occurs with warmer Pacific Ocean waters, could be occurring this winter.

“For the lower Midwestern states, this could mean generally more precipitation, but Iowa and Minnesota would miss these storms this winter. It’s really good news for the wheat farmers in the Plains states. After a dry fall last year, an El Niño would be helpful for those folks,” Mohler says.

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