US Corn Belt farmers hope for an endless summer

John Roach
A combine unloads corn to a grain cart, during a harvesting demonstration at the Husker Harvest Days farm show in Grand Island, Neb., Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

With a week left of summer officially, you'd think farmers might want to finally see an end to this frustratingly difficult season. Actually, they're wishing for an endless summer.

Corn and soybeans are still roughly 7 to 10 days behind schedule thanks to the delayed start to planting because of rains and flooding. So, the longer the warmth can linger, the better hopes for getting their crops to maturity.

There's good news for the upcoming week until September 21st.

"It's going to be warm the next 7 days until next Friday," said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls. "It looks warmer than normal in the northwest corner of the Corn Belt, which is favorable. It's going to help push them along. Corn is way behind in some of these areas, such as North Dakota, where only 1% of the corn is mature."

However, that might be it for several northwest Corn Belt states. "Once we hit next weekend and that front comes through, any growth after that will likely be minimal," Nicholls said.

"It looks like it's going to get cooler in the northwest corner of the Corn Belt - the Dakotas, Minnesota, northern Iowa, Wisconsin. It's going to cool off the entire belt in late September, early October, but it's more farther north where you could get frost, or at least cool enough to shut down growth," he added. "It's normal for this time of year, but that's why the late planting really hurts.

"But that's just the northwest corner," Nicholls said. "The rest of the Belt could still grow into October and they'll probably reach the finish line.

AccuWeather has adjusted its crop yield estimates for the year, putting corn production at 13.53 billion bushels and soybean totals at 3.610 billion bushels. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report Thursday estimated corn at 13.799 billion bushels and soybeans at 3.633 billion bushels.

The low estimates would be significant drop-offs from recent years. The U.S. soybean yield hasn't been below 3.928 billion bushels since 2013 when the total was 3.357 billion bushels. And corn hasn't been below 13.60 billion bushels since 2012, when it was 10.76 billion bushels.

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