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Promising Corn, Soybean Growing Conditions for July & August
Heavy rains over the last week have brought localized flash flooding to parts of Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota. Thankfully, clear skies between now and the next rain – forecast for this weekend – should allow areas to dry up.
“I’m not overly concerned about flooding being a problem,” says Dale Mohler, senior Accuweather agricultural meteorologist. “Despite local flooding, overall the rain is doing a lot of good. Farmers will take the moisture, even though in some places it’s more than they need.”
The rain will also dampen temperatures that will soar across the Midwest later this week. “We have had so much rain and the ground is so saturated, this will keep temperatures in check,” he says, adding that a heat wave will bring 90s to the western Midwest starting on Thursday and move farther east on Friday. “If the ground was dry and we hadn’t been getting rain, it would probably be 5° higher, hitting 100°F.”
While the daytime highs heat up, so will the nights. Starting tomorrow night, temperatures will remain in the 70s instead of cooling down to the 60s. “If you have too many nights that are warm, corn doesn’t get a chance to take a break from growing,” explains Mohler. “If corn has cooler nights, in the 60s rather than 70s, the plant will function better.”
A storm system from the northwest will cool temperatures down and bring more chances of rain starting on Saturday. This could bring heavy rain – a few inches – to parts of Iowa and southern Minnesota.
For the week of July 1, temperatures will return to normal early in the week – in the 70s and 80s – before heating up for a few days in the middle of the week into the 80s and 90s. Another front will move through then, triggering more rain and lower temperatures.
“Outside of some flooding and dry pockets here and there, the crops are in pretty good shape," says Mohler, adding that parts of Michigan and northern Ohio could use rain. “The crop condition is about as high as it has been this time in the growing season, solidly entering into the middle phase of growing – silking and pollination.” As of Monday’s Crop Progress Report, 77% of corn and 73% of soybeans are rated as good to excellent.
Mohler’s original forecast for this summer showed ideal growing conditions in the eastern Midwest with a drier outlook for the West. “We’re backing off from that as we’ve had more rain than predicted in the western third of the Midwest, including the Dakotas,” he says.
For July, Mohler anticipates that west of the Mississippi River will have just under average rainfall with temperatures 2° to 4° above normal. The ideal temperature profile for the summer is near or slightly below normal with average rainfall, he says.
“If the temperatures are higher, this will take a little off the top of the crop’s potential,” says Mohler, adding that the good foundations of rain will help carry areas through July and August.
The eastern Midwest shows near to above normal rainfall with average temperatures in July.
“Any problems in July aren’t widespread or aren’t severe unless there is a big change in the pattern. Right now, I don’t see that,” says Mohler.
Moving into August, the forecast looks even rosier. Temperatures will back off to normal to below normal and there will be a decent distribution of rainfall.
“August is important for soybeans, and it looks like August will be fairly favorable,” says Mohler.