Cool, largely dry weather covers the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, frost and freezes occurred Friday morning as far south as Missouri and Illinois. The only states in which corn was less than 90% fully mature on October 11 were Ohio (77% mature) and Michigan (82%). Among Midwestern States, Missouri had the fewest soybeans dropping leaves (77%), with all other states in the Corn Belt at 93% or above.
On the Plains, cool, dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and harvest activities for a variety of crops. The U.S. sorghum harvest was 49% complete by October 11, compared to the 5-year average of 43%. However, dryness is reducing topsoil moisture for winter wheat establishment and stressing rangeland and pastures. On October 11, rangeland and pastures were rated at least 30% very poor to poor in each of the Plains States, led by Colorado (62%).
In the South, scattered showers in the vicinity of a cold front are affecting the mid-Atlantic and stretch from the Appalachians to southern Texas. Cool, dry weather trails the front’s passage. Harvest activities remain behind schedule in some areas, following a barrage of tropical activity (e.g. Hurricanes Sally and Delta, as well as Tropical Storm Beta) in the last month. On October 11, Louisiana led the nation with topsoil moisture rated 61% surplus.
In the West, dry weather persists. Meanwhile parts of California are experiencing record-setting warmth, along with an elevated to critical wildfire threat due to high temperatures, offshore winds, low humidity levels, and abundant dry fuels. According to the October 13 U.S. Drought Monitor, 80% of the 11-state Western region is experiencing drought.