As the harvest season ramps up, it looks like rural America will have some variability in the weather forecast. Ryan Martin is an agricultural meteorologist from Warsaw, Indiana. He says the Corn Belt will likely have some drier weather come harvest time.
“It looks like a large part of the Corn Belt, in my opinion, is going to be dealing with below-normal precipitation, so we’re looking at a drier harvest, at least start. So, here from mid-September and going through the end of October, I think we’re going to be looking at below-normal precipitation, which is good and will help things dry down. It does look like, if there is an active precipitation track at all, it tends to want to run over the Upper Midwest, so that may bring a little bit more moisture to places like Minnesota, Wisconsin, into the northern Great Lakes, and Michigan, but overall, I don’t see too many hiccups in the Corn Belt when it comes to harvesting at least now through October. You go later in the season, and we might start to get a little more active, but we’ll have to see.”
While there will be some rain in the Upper Midwest, there should be adequate windows between events to get harvest done.
“By all means, I think that’s an easy call right there. I think harvest is going to be able to happen. What we run into, though, is that’s been the garden spot all year. So, that’s the spot where we’re seeing growth extending as long as temperatures stay warm. It may not be as fast of a dry-down there as crops mature because we’ve got plenty of moisture, both in the soil profile and from these timely rains that come through.”
He says drought concerns are lingering in the Central and Southern Plains.
“I have some significant concerns about the Central and Southern Plains when it comes to HRW, hard red winter wheat belt planting, that’s got to be the story here going forward. I look for us to be well-below-normal on precipitation there. We’ve already seen some wheat dusted-in in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. Right now, there’s nothing to change that. And when rains come through, the systems are not overly moisture-laden, so we do see a little bit of moisture, but if you get half an inch and you need an inch-and-a-half or more to kind of get the soil profile back, it’s just not going to happen and not going to work. So, I think the harvest in Nebraska is going to be okay. Planting of wheat in Kansas is going to be touch and go, and when it comes to harvest in Kansas, a large part of the crops have already been burnt up, and it has some issues there anyway, so I think harvest is going to be just fine with what they have left in Kansas.”
There are some challenges ahead for the Deep South as well.
“Here is where I think we have our issues, and this is where we’ve had the issues up to this point as well. Plentiful moisture coming into the Delta, we’ve got quality concerns on the harvest that has happened so far, and anything left to go is going to be running into the peak of any kind of potential tropical outbreak scenario. So, we’ve already got a couple of stronger storms in the Atlantic, and nothing’s making direct landfall but throwing some moisture into the deep South. I think that continues at least into mid-October, and we kind of wind things down on the tropical season fairly quickly during the second half of the month. But I think that the moisture issues that we’ve seen, to this point, don’t go away exceptionally fast in the Deep South.