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Summer Weather Conditions Will Create Feast and Famine Areas

“If you look back at years where the Midwest had issues with heat and dryness, rainfall tends to be variable. Even in years where overall crop yields are way down you still see areas that receive enough rain to get by,” explains Dan Hicks with Freese-Notis. “I suspect that’s how this summer will be. There will be feast areas with plenty of rain and famine pockets where summer weather will knock down yields.”

What areas are more likely to have higher yields?

This summer, temperatures and rainfall in the north and eastern portions of the Midwest will be closer to average than other areas of the Corn Belt.

“Rainfall for the summer will be 90% of normal in the northwest and 80% in the east,” says Dale Mohler, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. “Temperatures will be about 2° above average in the east.”

In addition, these areas received some beneficial rainfall over the past few days, which will carry into tomorrow morning for the eastern parts of the belt.

“Minnesota, the northeast half of Iowa, Wisconsin, and northern Illinois received more rain than anticipated yesterday,” says Mohler. “Some areas received over an inch while others had two to three. That system will continue into Indiana, Ohio, and parts of Kentucky today and tomorrow.”

Temperatures in these areas will remain hot through Sunday and Monday. Then a cold front will move through bringing temperatures back down to normal, primarily in the 80s, according to Hicks.

That cold front will bring ¼- to ¾-inch of rain in 60% of the Midwest. The next chance for significant rainfall will be on Wednesday and Thursday.

“There’s a chance for widespread rain that will bring 1 to 1.5 inches of rain through the heart of the belt,” explains Mohler. “That event is a little in question because it isn’t showing up on all of the weather models. If that rain doesn’t materialize, areas will be hurting.”

What parts of the Midwest may see crop stress?

“Based on what’s happened in the past five to six days and what we will most likely see over the next six to 10, I think the areas most susceptible to crop stress are southern Nebraska, eastern Kansas, southern Iowa, Missouri, west central and southern Illinois, and western Kentucky,” says Hicks. “Those are the areas that have had the lightest amounts of rain recently, will continue to have little rain for the next 10 days, and have the warmest temperatures compared to normal.”

Hicks believes the next Crop Progress report will reflect the declining corn and soybean conditions in these areas, which Mohler agrees with.

“Kansas will have 100° heat over the weekend, so their numbers will most likely drop. The USDA may also show a decline in crop conditions in Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and parts of Illinois,” he says. “Southwestern parts of Iowa may drop, but the north and east have had good rainfall, so Iowa will probably stay off this list.”

For the rest of the summer, Mohler anticipates rainfall in the southwest will be 60% to 75% of average while temperatures will be 3° to 4° above normal.

“Crop conditions will decline over the next couple of weeks, but how much depends on the amount of rain. If any one of the significant rain events doesn’t materialize, there could be problems,” adds Mohler. "In addition, summer rain events could only be a few miles wide, so one place might catch rain while others nearby miss it."

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