The numbers jump off the U.S. Department of Agriculture “Crop Progress” report looking like test scores a student would hide from his parents – 53, 58, 59 and 59.
But for the corn industry they’re important must-see figures. They’re the numbers for the percentage of corn that has dented in four states still struggling with the impact of rain and flooding during the 2019 season.
The states – Michigan at 53 percent, North Dakota at 58 percent, North Carolina at 59 percent and Wisconsin at 59 percent – are struggling as the growing season ends. They’re also far off the average pace for this time of year.
For comparison the five-year average for each of those states in terms of corn dented by this date is Michigan at 82 percent, North Dakota at 91 percent, North Carolina at 89 percent and Wisconsin at 84 percent. Overall corn dented for the USDA’s 18 key corn-producing states this year is 79 percent, well less than the five-year average of 94 percent.
Across the northern tier of the Corn Belt they just haven’t had the growing units this year. So that brings the question of if most of the crop is going to make it to the finish line there – and how much will make it. While most of it will, a small percentage in the far-northwest part of the Corn Belt may not.
And the hits just keep on coming for the western and northwestern parts of the Corn Belt. Several rounds of rain followed by cooler air will cause more growing and harvesting issues for farmers. The normal weekly rainfall for the northwestern corner of the Midwest at this time of year is 0.6 to 0.8 of an inch, but there’s going to be a narrow zone from Omaha toward Michigan that could have 3 to 6 inches of rain this week. It’s not going to damage the crops necessarily, but it’ll slow everything and there definitely will be harvest delays.
After the rain will come cooler air in the northwestern corner of the Corn Belt, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. It’s not going to be cold enough for a widespread killing frost in most northwest areas, but it will be cool enough that the mean temperature will be in the 40s and low-50s. There isn’t much of any growth at less than 50 degrees. And it’s going to be just cool enough that there won’t be much growth anymore in that area into October.
The southeastern parts of the Corn Belt will experience more-favorable conditions.
Visit www.accuweather.com for more information.