The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of MartellCropProjections.com:
Midwest Harvest Slowed By Wetness
Increasing showers in November are starting to bog down the Midwest corn harvest. Good harvesting progress was made in October, but soaking rains the past 2 weeks, 1.75 inches on average, has slowed the corn harvest. Soybean harvesting was close to being finished when the heavy rains developed. The USDA will release new data on harvesting today. It is estimated that corn harvesting has advanced to 80% complete, up 7% from a week ago. The soybean harvest may be 90% finished.
The Midwest drought has eased due to heavy fall rainfall recently. The US Drought Monitor shows a smaller area of "moderate" and "severe" drought, as of November 5, concentrated mainly in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois Wisconsin and Missouri.
The lingering drought in November reflects very intense drought late in the growing season. Midwest rainfall August to mid September was only 63% of normal damaging in corn and soybean yields.
Midwest corn producers reported better than expected yields as the harvest advanced.
Corn Production Estimate Raised
This was borne out on the November corn production report from USDA. The United States corn yield was pegged at 160.4 bushels per acre and slightly above trend (normal). The northern Midwest came in with below-average yields, however, down 4-7% from trend. Iowa, the top US corn state, made 2.21 billion bushels and 5.5 % below average.
Favorable Hard Red Wheat Conditions
The 7 main bread wheat states have reported favorable conditions 62% good-excellent, 32% fair and 5% poor-very wheat as of November 7. Hard red wheat conditions were among the best 25% on record going back 15 years.
Kansas, the leading winter wheat state, has received abundant rain this autumn. The 5.8 inches of rain that accrued since September 1 is 23% above normal. This has promoted favorable germination in wheat and high plant populations. A favorable beginning usually (though not always) promotes a high yield in the harvest.
El Nino Effect
Wet weather in November may be linked to an emerging El Nino signal. The El Nino is the rain maker, while La Nina produces drought in the US heartland. The Climate Prediction Center has hinted a full fledged El Nino may emerge by spring suggesting cool Upper Midwest temperatures and wetness in the eastern Midwest farm belt.
Forecast Drier and Sharply Colder
The forecast is more favorable for harvesting west of the Mississippi Valley, and turning drier. The eastern Midwest would continue rather unsettled due to .10 to .50 inch scattered showers. The coldest air of the season is predicted tonight with 4-5 F in northern Iowa and Minnesota. Daytime highs are projected to be teens and low 20s F in the Midwest on Tuesday. Temperatures would slowly moderate later in the week though conditions would continue cold. Producers would welcome a hard freeze prompting firmer ground for harvesting.