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Corn Harvest Delays Will Continue With Expected Precipitation

In many states, unfavorable weather conditions have kept corn harvest lagging behind the five-year average this season. The latest USDA Crop Progress Report indicates the 2017 harvest is 19% behind 2016 harvest progress. With precipitation and wintry weather moving into parts of the region, meteorologist Dan Hicks of Freese-Notis says it is likely too late to catch up.

“Heading into November, there probably aren’t too many soybeans left to harvest, but I think there’s a fair amount of corn left in the Midwest and also up in the northern Plains,” Hicks told Successful Farming on Thursday.

Through the first part of next week, Midwest growers east of the Mississippi River are expected to get more precipitation, ranging from .25 to 1 inch, on average. Rainfall near the southern Great Lakes may be heavier, as much as 1 to 2 inches.

“Looking at the immediate future, the weekend and Monday storm is definitely going to slow harvest down along and east of the Mississippi,” says Hicks, noting a second system may pass through the area again later next week.

In the next six to 10 days, wintry weather will cause harvest challenges in the plains of northern South Dakota, northwest Minnesota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana. Melted precipitation amounts are expected to be less than .5 inch. However, Minnesota and North Dakota may see snowfall ranging from 2 to 5 inches.

Although catching up to harvest averages for this time of year is unlikely, Hicks is most optimistic about corn harvest in states west of the Mississippi. “Those are the areas over the next week or 10 days that I think will have the lightest amount of precipitation and the most dry time,” he explains.

Forecasts show Kansas and Nebraska may have the greatest opportunity for harvest progress. According to the USDA Crop Progress Report, the states are behind their five-year averages by 11% and 22%, respectively.

Taking a look beyond harvest, the expected precipitation may keep light to moderate drought conditions in southeast Iowa, eastern Missouri, and western Illinois from getting worse. While soil moisture is not an immediate concern heading into winter, these areas may be key to watch if they are still lacking moisture by spring.

The additional moisture may also have benefits for winter wheat crops in Montana and the Dakotas as it prepares to go into dormancy.

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