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Longest Harvest Window Closing This Weekend

This past week is shaping up to be one of the best dry windows for harvest that farmers have had this fall, says Dan Hicks, meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather. Farmers will continue to have a few more dry days before rain moves in this weekend.

“There’s going to be a lot of harvest done in the Midwest before this rain event,” says Hicks, predicting that corn and soybean harvest numbers will move up significantly in the USDA’s report on Monday. “I think we’ll see a big jump, but the numbers will most likely still be behind the five-year average.”

As of Sunday, only 28% of the U.S. corn crop had been harvested, behind the five-year average of 47%. Soybean harvest is moving along more quickly than corn harvest with 49% complete, trailing the five-year average of 60%.

Rain Forecast for Weekend

There’s a chance of rain starting Friday night and moving into Saturday for western Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, western Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota, says Hicks. That system will bring light rainfall amounts and will move through the western Midwest by Sunday.

“This system won’t be all that heavy, so it may just bring a short interruption in harvest,” says Hicks, noting that the lightest rainfall will fall in Minnesota, northwest Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

That system will move across to the eastern Midwest, bringing rainfall starting on Sunday. “The latest indications are that this weather system could slow down and a second system could develop and move through the Midwest early next week,” says Hicks.

This means that eastern Missouri, southeast Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan could have closer to 1 to 2 inches of rain that will last through next Tuesday. On top of that, temperatures will drop starting next Tuesday to about 10°F. below normal across the Midwest. With highs in the 40s and 50s, fields may take longer to dry out than they have so far this fall.

Nighttime temperatures will be in the 30s and 40s during this time frame. “If there are clear skies, there is the potential for freezing temperatures,” says Hicks, adding that cloudy skies reduce this risk.

After the second system of rain clears the middle of next week, the forecasts show below-normal rainfall for the rest of October. “It won’t be totally dry, but I don’t expect to see long-term wetness,” explains Hicks.

During the last week in October, temperatures should come back up, improving drying potential in the central and eastern Midwest.

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