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Favorable Weather Seen to Help Growers Finish Corn Harvest

Snow Won’t Accumulate Enough in Most of Northern U.S. to Keep Producers Out of Fields.

Growers in the Midwest should be able to finish collecting their soybeans and get most of their corn out of the ground in the next couple of weeks, as dry weather is forecast for much of region.

Below-normal amounts of precipitation are expected throughout the Corn Belt in the next five days, Commodity Weather Group said in a forecast on Wednesday morning. In the six- to 10-day outlook, only parts of the eastern Midwest are expected to have normal or above-normal rainfall. 

Snow won’t be a problem either even as the calendar heads into mid-November. Other than a band of snow that’s been sitting on the ground in much of northwestern North Dakota, growers in the northern Plains and Midwest likely won’t see accumulations that will keep them out of fields, said David Streit, a meteorologist with CWG in Bethesda, Maryland.

“The snow they have is all the snow they’re going to get,” Streit told Successful Farming magazine. “Most of the (weather) that’s coming through is going to be pretty dry. There’s a possibility of snow in the 11- to 15-day time frame out toward Thanksgiving, but what’s on the ground is all the area will have to deal with until then.”

Growers were 70% finished with the corn harvest as of Sunday and 90% done with soybean collection, the USDA said in a report earlier this week. The corn harvest still trails the normal pace by a considerable amount, but soybean collection is mostly on track, USDA data show.

Brian Grossman, a market strategist for the Zaner Group in Chicago, said he isn’t overly concerned about delays moving forward since producers can harvest so much in a short time these days. Harvest delays had buoyed corn prices for a while, but it’s likely futures will need to find another catalyst moving forward as crop collection nears completion, he said.

“The northern-tier states of North Dakota and Minnesota could potentially have issues, (but) the rest of the states, while they get winter, they won’t have snow that sticks around,” he said. “They may need to let it stand in the field a little while longer and go get it once the ground freezes up. Even in the Northern states, it would take a significant storm to do measurable damage when it comes to the national viewpoint. I don’t expect prices to react to the weather issue.”

Producers in the northern Plains – mostly in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – were fortunate that the storm system that’s left several inches of snow in a band from Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, to Grand Forks, North Dakota, wasn’t more widespread.

The storm dropped 4 to 8 inches of snow in the area, and cold air temperatures have kept most of it from melting. Warmer soil temperatures, however, have helped reduce the amount of snow cover in the region, Streit said.

Had the storm contained more moisture, the area covered in snow and, therefore, inaccessible to harvesters would’ve been more widespread, he said.

“They were really lucky. If that system did what it did in that small area and because they were so far behind on harvest, they may have been sitting there stuck with half their crop still in the ground,” Streit said. “Luckily there wasn’t much moisture for that system to work with.”

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