Delay in Harvest due to Rain in the U.S

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

The changes in U.S. weather may trigger the problems in harvest as storms next week may target the Corn Belt. Farmers were ready for harvest due to dry weather but it seems it will be delayed. 

Soybeans were 72% collected, up from 53% a week earlier but still behind the average of 81% at this time of year. On Sunday, the corn harvest was 63% complete which is 49% more than before. It is much higher than five-year average.  

Dale Mohler, a meteorologist at Accuweather said that “There’s a little bit of bad news, I suppose,” We’ve had a dry pattern, or it’s been a lot less active, we’ll put it that way, for almost two weeks. That’s starting to change a little bit” 

Accuweather is forecasting about .25 inch of rain in eastern Nebraska from Saturday through Tuesday and 1 inch or more in northern Illinois. 

According to the National Weather Service, One weather system has already made its way through much of the eastern Midwest and has dumped rain on parts of southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, and much of Ohio. That storm also has caused flooding in the area as up to 3 inches of rain into Thursday morning caused some waterways to go over their banks.

Mohler said a second system is inbound and likely will hit the western half of the Corn Belt, though rainfall totals will be from .25 to .75 inch west. The precipitation will be most prevalent east of the Mississippi River, though northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin likely will see some as well. 

After Tuesday, however, it’ll be dry for another five to seven days before the next round of storms arrive. 

“(Farmers) might get five to seven days where there’s some quiet weather,” he said. “It’s going to be chilly with highs in the 30s in the (central Midwest) and 40s in the south, and maybe some 20s in the north. It’ll be colder in the middle of next week, then moderate the following week.” 

In the southern Plains – hard-red winter wheat country – the weather will be dry for the next 10 days, which should help producers speed planting. 

Winter wheat was 78% planted as of Sunday, up from 72% the prior week but behind the 85% average for this time of year, the USDA said. Last week was slow in terms of fieldwork due to adverse weather. 

In Kansas, the biggest producer of winter wheat, 76% was in the ground, up from 67% the previous week but well behind the 89% average. Oklahoma growers were 78% finished with planting up from 75% seven days earlier. That compares with the five-year average of 88%, according to the government. 

Some light rain may fall in parts of western Nebraska or northern Kansas, but less than .25 inch, Mohler said. Light precipitation may fall toward the end of next week, but only about 20% of the hard-red winter belt will be affected. The next chance for widespread rain won’t be until November 13 or 14, Mohler said. 

The outlook for the southern Plains this winter is mostly positive however, as an El Niño weather pattern will mean lots of precipitation. 

“It’s been a totally different year than last year when the rain shut off in about mid-October,” Mohler said. “They’ve been getting moisture out there and should continue to do so throughout the winter. It should stay fairly wet. (Wheat) is going to be in great shape come spring – it looks like it’s going to be well-watered in at least the southern half of the southern Plains.” 

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