USDA: Fieldwork Behind Schedue in Eastern Corn Belt

October 18, 2011 05:51 AM

USDA's Joint Ag Weather Facility says in the Corn Belt, cool, rainy weather is halting summer crop harvesting and winter wheat planting in the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys. "Fieldwork is already behind schedule in the eastern Corn Belt due to a combination of late-developing crops and recent wetness," USDA reports.

"In the West, warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork, including cotton harvesting in Arizona and California and late-season winter wheat planting in the Northwest," USDA says.

On the Plains, USDA says sharply colder weather prevails in the wake of a cold front's passage. "However, the front provided little or no moisture to the southern Plains' winter wheat production areas, leaving the emerging crop in need of moisture," USDA says. On Oct. 16 in Texas, both winter wheat planting (52% complete) and emergence (19%) lagged the five-year averages (72 and 46%, respectively) by at least 20 percentage points, according to USDA.

"In the South, tropical moisture associated with a disorganized low-pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico continues to stream across southern Florida, generating heavy rain," USDA explains. Meanwhile, USDA says rain is also spreading into the lower Mississippi Valley, slowing the previously rapid fieldwork pace. "During the week ending Oct. 16, Arkansas led the nation with 30% of its cotton harvested (56% harvested overall)," USDA reports.

According to USDA's outlook, two storm systems, one currently moving across the Mid-South and the other over the Gulf of Mexico, will converge at mid-week on the eastern U.S. "Rain associated with the Gulf storm will be heaviest along the Atlantic Seaboard, where 1 to 2 inches can be expected," USDA adds. It continues, "Locally much heavier rain will persist through Wednesday across Florida’s peninsula." Meanwhile, USDA says a separate area of heavy rain (1 to 3 inches) will lift northward from the Ohio Valley into the Great Lakes region. "Some of the coldest air of the season will trail the twin storms, with mid- to late-week freezes expected across the northern and central Plains and much of the Midwest," USDA reports. In contrast, a mild, dry weather pattern will prevail through week’s end in the West, USDA says.


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