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Crop Weather Looks ‘Better Going Forward,’ Says Meteorologist

The Midwest is turning a corner to a more favorable weather pattern, says Dan Hicks, meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather. “Conditions for the next two weeks should be better than what the Midwest saw in July,” he says. “In general, I think we’ll see corn and soybean conditions stabilize or improve through August.”

Overall, the Midwest will see higher chances for precipitation and lower temperatures through mid-August. While this is an improvement over hot, dry July, Hicks hedges his optimism about improved crop conditions.

“The areas that are desperately in need of rain are going to get a little smaller over the next couple of weeks, but they won’t completely go away,” he says. “These rains aren’t going to make up the long-term deficits and aren’t going to eliminate drought conditions that have developed.”

In the next 10 days, expect several systems to bring light to moderate amounts of rain to the Midwest. Hicks estimates ¼- to ¾-inch of rain per system. On average during this time frame, temperatures will be slightly below normal. “We will almost eliminate temperature stress on crops in the next couple of weeks,” he adds.

This will bring relief to regions that have suffered the most, in particular the northern Plains, central Plains, and Iowa.

For the eastern portion of the northern Plains, Hicks states again that the outlook will be better for the next two weeks than it has been for the last two. “The need for rain will continue, but there are at least some light rain chances and cooler temperatures.”

This is much needed in North Dakota where only 39% of corn is in good-to-excellent condition and soybeans are worse at 34%, according to the USDA’s most recent Crop Progress Report. Corn and soybean ratings are even lower in South Dakota with 29% of corn in good-to-excellent condition and only 28% of soybeans.

The central Plains, including west Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and Kansas, have had hot weather with little precipitation in July. Moving into August, there will be fewer hot days and more rain chances. “Crop and pasture conditions should improve going ahead,” says Hicks.

Iowa has been another hot spot on the drought index with counties in the southwest in a moderate to a severe drought. Portions of Iowa have received beneficial rain in the last week and will continue to moving into August.

“While there will still be places in need of rain, the outlook is better going forward than looking back,” sums up Hicks.

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