Corn Belt harvest is being hindered by the winter weather

Winter weather is hindering harvest. This could have lasting effects for the Corn Belt.

Autumn has quickly turned into winter for a large portion of corn and soybean country. Harvest was progressing nicely thanks to some milder weather, but the icy precipitation has brought that to all but a screeching halt.

DTN’s senior ag meteorologist, Bryce Anderson says that the western and northern Corn Belt have seen the brunt of the storm.

“The last 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is going to be much slower to get taken care of than the first 60 percent was, and soybean harvest, the last 25 percent is, again, going to have some slowdowns because we’ve gone from this real dry, very mild, and well-above-normal temperature pattern to one that is a lot stormier,” Anderson states.

That cold weather pattern likely will not change for several days. Once temperatures level out, the melting snow will make the fields muddy and difficult to get back into.

According to Anderson, “It’s going to be a definitely colder pattern that does not have a lot of really rapid moderation. One thing that complicates that is, now here we are getting into the end of October, into November, we are well in the fall season with shorter daylight, the sun angle is lower, and those sorts of things. That means that when we do get precipitation, it’s awfully slow to really dry out in order to improve field conditions.”

High pressure in the north is the cause of the sudden weather pattern change.

“We have seen sustained upper-level high pressure just kind of park over the far northern latitudes over the last several weeks, and that blocking high has effectively steered any colder air out of the arctic farther south and that’s what we’re getting,” he adds. “So, this is the source of that colder pattern, and when it has moved south, it’s moving south very quickly and causing this real storm situation to develop.”

The snow set records in several parts of farm country, including areas where the summer derecho hit in central Iowa.