Western Corn Belt Could See ‘Record October Rains’

Heavy rainfalls are continuing to slow down harvest on the western side of the Corn Belt, and it doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon.

“It’s a problem, a major problem,” says Dale Mohler, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. “And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Harvest has already been made tricky with wet grounds from consistent rain in September. Now, over the next eight to 10 days, 3 to 6 inches of rain is expected in northwest Missouri, up through Iowa, and most of Wisconsin, according to Mohler.

“It could get pushed back by a week-and-a-half to two weeks,” Mohler says. “So instead of finishing in late October or November, to get to 85% or 90% completion, you may have to wait until mid- or late-November this year.”

Eventually, things will clear up in the middle of October, allowing a small, week-long window for fields to dry up. From October 15-21, Mohler is expecting little to no rainfall in the most affected areas creating a “critical” time during the third week of October to determine how late harvest will last.

“It looks like by next weekend it will be a dryer pattern setting up, and that dry pattern is going to last at least until the following week,” Mohler says. “It’s probably a six- or seven-day window, pretty dry weather once the rains clear out.”

Harvest has been able to stay on track and, in some states, even ahead of the percentage harvested compared with past years. According to the USDA crop progress report, as of September 30, Iowa farmers have harvested 11% of their corn crops so far this year; Nebraska is at 17%; and Kansas comes in at 47%, all up from the average of the last five years.

“I haven’t seen a harvest disrupted this much in a long time,” Mohler says. “I can’t think of the last time we had a really slow, wet harvest.”

These wet conditions may cause farmers to expend time and money drying out crops manually, Mohler says. As the season progresses, the duration of sunlight will decrease and the angle of the sun will lower, diminishing the natural drying, further emphasizing the importance of that third week in October.

“Usually by hook or by crook we get [harvest] in,” Mohler says. “But if it’s this wet, this could be some record October rains here in those areas I’ve mentioned west.”

Source: Austin Anderson, Successful Farming

ProAg Quick Links

Agent Toolbox Grower Toolbox Careers

ProAg News

Corn Prices Heating Up

Despite the USDA raising 2018-19 marketing year ending stocks for corn in last Thursday’s WASDE report, corn prices moved higher to end the week. December corn futures prices returned to the levels seen before the surprising June Acreage report....

More Resilient Flood Control

In the wake of flooding that has inundated the Midwest, people offer different perspectives calling for more investment in flood control infrastructure as recovery begins along the Missouri River and in much of the Mississippi River watershed....

Why MFP 2019 Will Be A Disappointment For Some

The flow of meaningful information from USDA leadership about MFP 2019 payments has remained painfully slow. While there is no way of knowing the exact county-level payment rates, this week's post considers the big-picture impacts of how a 2019 MFP program might roll-out....
Get ProAg updates via email
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now