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Rain Slows Harvest Throughout the Midwest

With more wet weather on the way for the majority of the Midwest, forecasters say farmers in the East are hopeful for rainfall to replenish soils, and western Corn Belt farmers will be slowed down for harvest.  

“The wettest areas this week have been in the eastern Corn Belt in areas of Minnesota, eastern Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska,” says Dan Hicks, meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather. “Many farmers will have a tough time getting in the field as more rain will be making its way there this weekend.”

What’s Ahead for the Next Two Weeks

Throughout the weekend, a system will work its way through the western part of the Corn Belt bringing 1 to 3 inches of rain. “When the system moves out, the weather will look better. However, there aren’t very many opportunities for dry spells,” says Hicks. “There will be slow, gradual improvement in the West, but it will need awhile to dry out.”

The system is expected to continue moving through the eastern part of the Belt bringing 0.2 to 0.6 inches. This will slow harvest in the central and eastern Midwest but will be beneficial in replacing moisture in topsoil in many areas of the East as well as replenishing areas with winter wheat.

“Southern Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Indiana will see the most beneficial rainfall as well as some remnants of Hurricane Nathan throughout the weekend and on into early next week,” says Dale Mohler, senior Accuweather agricultural meteorologist.

Much of the East has seen rapid harvest for farmers with numbers closer to the five-year average than central and western Corn Belt farmers. “With the eastern Belt having drier soils before the rainfall, they might be quicker to get back in the field than western farmers,” says Hicks. “Although the western part of the Belt will see more rainfall, it will be lighter.”

Crop Progress and Early Frost

Mohler says it’s been an average week for harvest with moderate rain but nothing too heavy. “Nationally, the crop progress is a week behind schedule, but that also varies in location. Some of it’s rain, and some of it’s because the crop isn’t mature due to the cooler weather in August and September.”

When it comes to concerns about frost, Mohler says those conditions aren’t likely soon. With crops slowing to maturity later than normal due to the cooler weather in August and September, the frost is also later than normal with warmer temperatures throughout the month of October.


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