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Drought expands in the Corn Belt as harvest continues

Dry conditions heading into winter raise concerns of sub-par soil moisture for the 2023 planting season

The first full week of October 2022, ending on Oct. 8, brought above average temperatures to the western half of the Corn Belt, with colder than normal temperatures in the far eastern portions of the region. By the end of the week, much colder weather arrived with a widespread frost and freeze event that ended the growing season across parts of the Corn Belt.

According to data from WeatherTrends360, this was the driest first full week of October in over 30 years for the Corn Belt as a whole. Drought conditions deepened across much of the central United States and into the Mississippi River Valley, where shipping problems arose due to low river levels. The dry weather was, however, favorable for crop dry-down and harvest activities where crops were mature. 

The second full week of October 2022, ending on Oct. 15, will trend as the coldest in three years, but closer to normal for the Corn Belt as a whole, according to data from WeatherTrends360. Warmer than normal temperatures will be favored in the western Corn Belt, while the eastern Corn Belt will be closer to or colder than normal. A cold front in the second half of the week will usher in another chance of a frost or freeze, with some far northern areas possibly seeing a few snowflakes.

Precipitation will continue to run below normal as this is forecast to be the sixth driest second week of October in over 30 years for the Corn Belt. The cold front will bring some brief showers and storms, but no prolonged precipitation is expected. As such, the precipitation shouldn’t have much of an impact on harvest activities. Dry to drought conditions across the central United States and into the Midwest are a concern moving forward, as this will challenge establishment of winter wheat and cover crops, in addition to setting the stage for dry soils going into the planting season of 2023.

Weather trends map for October



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