Martell: Soaking Rains in Midwest Too Late to Improve Yields

September 23, 2013 05:19 AM



The following content was provided by meteorologist Gail Martell of 

Soaking Rains in Midwest Too Late to Improve Yields

The Midwest drought has eased with heavy soaking rains in mid September. This was largely due to hurricane moisture from Mexico that was swept up by the jet stream and carried north into the US heartland. The majority of Midwest farms have received at least one inch of rainfall the past 10 days, while 2-3 inches have developed in scattered areas.

Heavy Rainfall Past 10 Days

The wettest conditions occurred in central Texas and across the lower Mississippi Delta. Hard red wheat farms in Colorado and Western Kansas also have become extremely wet. The generous moisture is highly beneficial for winter wheat planting this fall.

Rain Too Late for Crops

How useful is heavy rainfall in mid September for Midwest crops? Soaking rains would benefit soybeans more than corn. Pod filling in soybeans was ongoing in mid September. Agronomists claim seeds continue to develop even as leaves begin yellowing and up until half the leaves have been shed from the plant. As of September 15 leaf-shedding was 26% under way.

Soaking rains would have been far more beneficial in August, during the key pod-filling stage. Both the seed size and number of beans per pod were reduced by exceptional dry conditions. On average, US soybeans received only 2.3 inches of August rainfall some 35% below average.

Late-summer rains were too late for Midwest corn. One-quarter of the crop was already ripe by September 15. Kernel filling is virtually all finished. The drying down stage in kernels is also advanced as 81% of US corn was "denting" by September 15.

Scattered Showers Forecast

Relatively quiet weather is expected this week in the Eastern Midwest while recurring showers develop in the western grain belt. Specifically, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and western Wisconsin are looking wet in the 5-day outlook.

GFS 5 Day Forecast

The morning satellite image reveals a broad area of unsettled weather in North Central United States, where a trough of low pressure has developed. Mostly modest rainfall is predicted in scattered rain showers, under .50 inch. However, the GFS model indicates .75 to 1 inch rains in a narrow band from Southwest Iowa to western Wisconsin.

Though rainfall is too late to improve crop yields it is badly needed to replenish dry fields in northern growing areas. Hardly any rain is predicted in the eastern Midwest, favoring crop drying and early harvesting. A dry forecast in the Central Great Plains would permit fieldwork and wheat planting in Kansas.

5 Day Temperature Forecast

Warm days and cool nights would advance crop maturity in Midwest corn and soybeans. Temperatures are expected to be slightly above average in the north-central United States but near normal in the central Great Plains and Mississippi Valley. It would be cooler than average in the Eastern Great Lakes.


Back to news


Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer