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Warm and dry weather pushes along both corn maturity and harvest

Drought conditions Improve in the Northern Plains but degrade in the Southern Plains.

 As corn harvest commences in the U.S., a warm and dry end to September should help to advance corn maturity and harvest across the Corn Belt.

Recent wet weather has resulted in drought improvements in the drought-stricken areas of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Unfortunately, a flash drought has developed in the Southern Plains where winter wheat is going in the ground. 

As September winds down and harvest ramps up in the United States, the final week of the month (week-ending October 2) will bring summer-like heat and dry weather to the Corn Belt. According to data from WeatherTrends360, this will be the second warmest and third driest end to September in more than 30 years for the Corn Belt.

Warmer weather will help to push corn crops to maturity. As of the September 20 USDA Crop Progress report, the percentage of corn that had reached maturity was 57%, which is ahead of the five-year average of 47% and in line with last year’s corn maturity percentage. This is due, in part, to the warmer-than-normal weather that’s been dominant throughout much of the summer season.

Although drought continues to be an issue, there were some improvements in recent weeks across the hardest hit droughts areas of the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains. Still, the rains have arrived a little too late to improve the corn crop, which was battered by dryness during critical development periods in the growing season. Going forward, drier weather is favorable for harvest, therefore, a drier end to September is generally viewed as a positive. 

While drier weather may push along corn harvest, a flash drought that has developed in the Southern Plains could negatively affect the winter wheat crop. Major winter wheat crop areas of the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, far southwestern Missouri, and southern Kansas have seen drought conditions emerge as planting continues. Soil moisture will need to be replenished in the weeks ahead to allow for healthy establishment of the crop. The final week of September may bring some wetter weather to parts of the region based on forecasts from WeatherTrends360.

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