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Growers to Get Break From Rain Starting Later This Week
Growers in a wide patch of the U.S. including parts of Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and northern Illinois have been inundated with rain for much of the past two weeks, but the precipitation should come to an end in the next couple of days, forecasters said.
As much as six times the normal amount of rain has fallen from west Texas north into the Great Lakes region in the past 14 days, according to the National Weather Service. Flood watches and warnings have become the norm as waterways including the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, along with several smaller tributaries, have overflowed their banks. Incessant precipitation has left some farmers unable to harvest their crops and with increased concerns about reduced quality.
The storms that have been parked over the Plains and Midwest and inundating the regions with wet weather should move out in the next couple of days, said David Streit, a senior agricultural meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group.
“After the next two days, this event is over,” he told Agriculture.com. “At that point it looks like the northwestern areas (including the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska, much of Iowa and Wisconsin) will get a break from shower activity, but the southeastern half of the Midwest will get hit early next week.”
Despite the respite from the wet weather, producers are concerned about the quality of their crops. Some growers have reported sprouting in corn and other concerns that are common with extremely wet weather.
“There’s always going to be some anxiety when you can’t get into your fields and it’s beyond your control,” said Jeff Kaprelian, the director of brokerage for Diversified Services in St. Charles, Illinois.
Still, he said, it’s not abnormal for rains to delay the harvest this time of year, and corn collection, at least, is still ahead of normal. The corn harvest was 34% complete as of Sunday, ahead of the five-year average of 26%, while soybean collection was 32% finished, behind the 26% average for this time of year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report on Tuesday.
Because it’s only early October, there’s still plenty of time for growers to collect their crops. Quality issues, however, are a real concern at this point because of the sheer amount of rain that’s fallen in the past couple of weeks, Kaprelian said.
“Quality is more of an issue, so you could encounter some problems there,” he said. “There’s a potential for a legitimate problem, but it’s also being blown out of proportion a little because of the anxiety of not being out there.”
One positive from all the rain is that the level of drought in the Midwest has greatly diminished in the past few weeks. About 17% of the region that includes Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky was suffering from abnormally dry weather or drought as of October 2, down from 19% a week earlier and almost 30% at the start of the year, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
While the most recent rains will end soon and bring some relief to parts of the north and central Midwest, some growing areas will get more preciptiation as the remnants of Hurricane Sergio, which is currently churning in the Pacific Ocean, make their way across Texas into the southern Corn Belt next week, CWG’s Streit said.
Radiant Solutions Donald Keeney said in a weather report that the six- to 10-day outlook is wetter for the southern and eastern Midwest and Delta next week, while cooler temperatures will prevail in the north-central Plains and western Midwest.
“Rains … would slow corn and soybean harvesting again,” he said. “Rains in the central and southern Plains would maintain favorable moisture for winter wheat, but would slow planting. There is a drier risk in the southwest Plains.”