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Dry Weather on the Way Gives Farmers Chance to Catch Up on Harvest

The U.S. corn and soybean harvests were behind their normal pace for this time of year at last check, but that all may change in the next couple of weeks.

Dry weather is on its way after a bout of rainfall in parts of the Midwest, forecasters said. The extreme heat that’s plagued the region also will dissipate, or at least ease, giving producers a break.

About 11% of the U.S. corn crop was harvested as of Sunday, behind the prior five-year average of 17%, according to the USDA. That’s also behind the year-ago level of 14%.

Soybean collection was 10% complete nationally, behind the average of 12% for this time of year, but ahead of last year’s 9% for the same week, the USDA said in a report on Monday.

As much as six times the normal amount of precipitation fell in the past week in a large swatch of the U.S. stretching from eastern New Mexico and west Texas all the way up through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service. Excessive rain also fell in parts of Iowa.

That system has moved out, and drier weather is on the way, said Paul Markert, a meteorologist at MDA weather services in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

“After today, (the weather) gets better,” he said. “The next chance of rain won’t arrive until Sunday for Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and even that’s not a huge rainmaker.”

Little to no precipitation is expected in much of southern Illinois and Indiana in the next day 10 days, as well, Markert said.

The other good news, he said, is that with temperatures mostly above normal, there’s no chance of frost in the next 10 to 14 days.

“If anything, it’s going to be unseasonably warm,” he said.

Commodity Weather Group (CWG) said the only rain it sees in the forecast is in the northwestern quadrant of the Corn Belt, and that may fall early next week.

Along with favorable weather for corn and soybean harvest, precipitation will be absent in much of the Southern Plains, which will help hard red winter wheat farmers get their crops in the ground, CWG said in a note to clients.

In the 16- to 30-day outlook, the drier weather will continue, which will help corn and bean collection, winter wheat seeding, and the Delta soybean and cotton harvests, the forecaster said.

Bradley Harvey, Markert’s colleague at MDA Weather, told Agriculture.com that the heat wave that’s been causing temperatures to rise into the upper 80s and lower 90s, breaking records in some places, will start to ease as is customary this time of year.

Temperatures will still be near records, but it’ll be more normal, albeit warmer, weather than what parts of the Midwest have seen in the past few days, he said.

“We’ll see a brief cooling pattern in the Midwest, but it’s going to be warmer than normal,” Harvey said. “We don’t think it’s going to get to the levels we’ve seen in the past several days as we head later into the season. Generally speaking, we’re expecting a warmer regime through the month of October.”

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