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Upper Midwest States Get Rain But a Long Way to Go

A recent run of significant rainfall has slowed harvest in parts of the Upper Midwest. John Baranick, ag meteorologist with DTN, says some of the driest areas in the region received several days’ worth of rain.

“Especially up around Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, where we’ve been just dirt dry for most of the summer. It’s been really hard to get rain for any sustained period of time. We’ve got some, especially in Minnesota into Wisconsin, and all of a sudden, we end up with four to eight inches of rain in some of these areas in about a week or two weeks’ time, so it’s been a nice turnaround. Unfortunately, it’s way too late for this year’s crop, but at least we’re kind of biting into the drought that’s been building across the region here over the last several weeks and for Minnesota and Wisconsin, the last several months.”

The dry soil immediately soaked up that moisture according to Baranick. “The ground has just been so dry it just really soaked that up. If you’ve been taking a look at the river systems, we’ve been very, very low across basically all of them for the last several weeks, and we’ve been talking about real low issues on the Mississippi River. It’s been hard to get barges up and down the Mississippi, but some of this rain is at least helping out in that regard. You’ve got to fill the soil column first before you can get runoff, and you can get additional water to work into the river. So, we took a good step forward in that.”

Even with that rain, a lot of rural America is still too dry.

Baranick says, “We’re gonna need a lot more here to help out that, and there’s still a lot of soil here that could use some more rain. If you look at soil moisture right now, we’ve made some major improvements across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. But we still have deficits in large parts of Iowa, Missouri, parts of the eastern Midwest, and down in the Southwestern Plains as well. It’s going to take some time, and usually, we see a lot of that during the summertime anyway. Summers are when we deplete our soil moisture, and fall, winter, and spring are when we try to build it back up again.”

He says don’t be surprised at sudden temperature and precipitation swings during fall harvest. “It’s Fall, and you should expect huge changes in temperatures and swings in precipitation and all that. It’s just a normal part of going from our summer season to our winter season, and that transition period can end up being kind of drastic.”

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