As harvest continues to ramp up, producers are looking for drier weather to allow for rapid progress in bringing in the crop. After rain moved through the Eastern Corn Belt early this week, DTN meteorologist John Baranick says a lot of rural America should be looking at a stretch of dry weather; “We’ll likely see some drier conditions develop. We’ve got a ridge of high pressure moving into the Western U.S. That should block a lot of the systems from moving in from the North Pacific, and so, the following week should be a good one there to get out and harvest that last week of September.”
He says recent rain in parts of the Midwest and Corn Belt has started to recharge some of the depleted soil moisture.
“It has, I mean, we’ve seen some good rainfall from Minnesota, Iowa, the eastern Dakotas Wisconsin, and portions of eastern Nebraska over the last several weeks, and we’ve continually seen drought just keep getting reduced in those areas. We’ve actually seen some areas that were in the D3 category of drought completely eliminated in northeastern South Dakota and northwest Iowa, but a lot of these areas have been just so far behind in rainfall that getting basically a summer’s worth of rainfall in a month just wasn’t enough to completely eliminate it.”
While the rain is good news, parts of rural America are still extremely dry; “We’re still behind, in some areas, a good six-to-eight inches. I was talking to somebody that farms out in western South Dakota, and he’s behind 10 inches still for the year. We’re just way behind, so it’s going to take a lot of rain here to reverse that. Looking at the Fall season here, we’re gonna have a lot of variability in terms of systems moving through. We already saw some good rainfall here early in September, but for the rest of September here through October and November, we don’t see a good signal either way of above-normal precipitation that will eat more into that drought.”
As things look right now, soil moisture likely won’t improve in either the fall or the upcoming winter season.
“There may be some areas here locally that improve and some that kind of degrade a little bit, so I don’t think we’re gonna see a whole lot of movement throughout the fall season. And we really don’t see any recharge of that during the winter season in any way, and even if we get good precipitation during the winter season, an extra inch or two is not going to bite into the five or six or eight inches of rainfall deficit we’re looking at. We’re really going to be dependent here across these drier areas, across the western Corn Belt, the Northwest especially, for recharging our soil moisture and getting us on a good footing for next season’s crop.”