Dry, milder weather across the Heartland
Across the Corn Belt, mild weather is replacing previously cool conditions, allowing corn and soybean harvesting to rapidly advance. During the 2 weeks ending October 4, nearly one-third (32%) of the U.S. soybeans were harvested. The overall soybean harvest was 38% complete on that date. However, the recent spell of dry weather has reduced soil moisture; on October 4, Indiana and Nebraska led the Midwest with topsoil moisture rated 67% very short to short.
On the Plains, warm, dry weather is promoting fieldwork but further reducing soil moisture for winter wheat germination and establishment. On October 4, topsoil moisture was rated at least 60% very short to short in each of the Plains States except Texas (48% very short to short). On the same date, Colorado led the U.S. with 86% of its intended winter wheat acreage planted, 13 percentage points ahead of average, but only 35% of the crop had emerged (7 points behind average).
In the South, dry weather in most areas is favorable for summer crop maturation and harvesting. However, scattered showers and humid conditions linger across the lower Southeast, including Florida’s peninsula. Due to earlier wetness, harvest was behind schedule on October 4 for crops such as rice (71% harvested) and peanuts (17% harvested).
In the West, drought continues to worsen amid warm, dry conditions. On October 4, rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor ranged from 38% in Idaho to 87% in Oregon. Topsoil moisture was more than 60% very short to short in every Western State except Arizona. However, the dry weather also favors fieldwork; in California, for example, one-half of the rice had been harvested by October 4, versus the 5-year average of 32%.