Near-ideal early Harvest weather for the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, warm, dry weather is ideal for summer crop maturation and harvesting. In the western Corn Belt, Friday’s high temperatures will reach or exceed 90° as far north as southeastern South Dakota. Dry weather also favors winter wheat planting across the lower Midwest, although topsoil moisture has become limited for crop establishment. During the 51-day period from August 19 – October 8, rainfall in Indianapolis, Indiana, totaled just 0.12 inch.
On the Plains, an elevated threat of grassfires exists from northern Texas to western Nebraska due to warm, dry, breezy conditions and low humidity levels. On October 6, drought covered 36% of the nation’s winter wheat production area, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, including large sections of the central and southern High Plains. In Nebraska, only 33% of the winter wheat had emerged by October 4, compared to the 5-year average of 49%.
In the South, rain is falling across the Mississippi Delta and neighboring areas, following last-minute efforts to complete as much fieldwork as possible. Until rain arrived, harvest was ongoing for crops such as cotton, rice, soybeans, sugarcane, and sweet potatoes. At 7 am CDT Friday morning, the hurricane was centered 160 miles south of Cameron, Louisiana, moving toward the north at 12 mph. Meanwhile, fieldwork continues Friday in the Southeast, well in advance of any tropical showers.
In the West, cloudiness is increasing across the Pacific Northwest in advance of an approaching cold front. Slightly cooler weather is arriving along the Pacific Coast, but inland areas of the West remain warm and dry. On October 4, Washington led the Northwest in winter wheat planting and emergence—76 and 54%, respectively.