Weather and Frost Dates for U.S. - Friday, 08 September 2017

Weather forecasts for frost in the Upper Plains…Minnesota and the Dakota’s gained the attention of the trade early this week.  Forecasters are not predicting a killing frost so the overall effect on the crops may not be devastating but considering the slower than normal development of this year’s crop any unfavorable forecast catches the attention of the market. We also need to keep an eye on the path Hurricane Irma ultimately takes later this week/weekend.  Several forecasts have Irma hitting the Florida Keys and then moving northward, some show the storm veering off the the east coast of Florida and impacting the Carolina’s.  If this scenario develops 150 million bushels of corn and 75 million bushels of soybean production in these states could be effected.

Farm Future’s magazine conducted a survey of U.S. producers asking for their planting intentions for the 2018 growing season.  Early indications show that this season’s all-time high soybean acreage is not likely to be repeated or surpassed in 2018.  Farmers surveyed hope to “boost corn and wheat while cutting back on soybeans, cotton and sorghum. Initial intentions for corn came in at 92.8 million acres, up +2.1% from the 90.9 million acres seeded this spring. To make room for that corn, growers said they will cut back on soybeans, with the intentions to plant 86.1 million acres, down almost 4% from the  89.5 million acres planted in 2017. Soybeans could also lose ground to wheat, a crop fighting to prove that it has put in a long-term bottom.  After 2017 saw the fewest wheat acres seeded since the end of World War I, farmers are ready to return to that crop. The Farm Futures survey found that growers want to boost wheat seedings by +2.5 million acres to 48.1 million, a +5.4% increase over 2017.” 90% of this expected increase is likely to come from winter wheat seeded this fall.

The weekly crop conditions report saw a 1% drop to 61% in the Good to Excellent category for corn. States that saw a decline in conditions were:

  • Colorado saw conditions fall by -18% this week
  • Pennsylvania and South Dakota had conditions fall by -4%
  • North Dakota and Michigan fell by -2%
  • Indiana, Minnesota and Kansas fell by -1%

Some notable states that saw conditions improve from last week include:

  • Illinois and Iowa were both raised by +2%
  • Wisconsin conditions improved by +3% over last week
  • Missouri saw a +1% improvement from a week ago

The corn crop is running behind normal pace for development at this point of the season.  This week 12% of the corn is considered mature compared to the 5 year average of 18%, corn reported in dented and dough stages are also off from traditional pace. 



The USDA left the soybean good to excellent category unchanged from a week ago at 61%.  States with significant changes to crop conditons:

  • Louisiana had conditions deteriorate by -14% from last week
  • Mississippi saw a -9% decline
  • North Carolina fell by -5%
  • North Dakota fell by 4% this week
  • Tennessee saw the crop improve by +6% this week
  • Wisconsin saw a +2% increase
  • Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota and Missouri improved by +1%

Soybeans dropping leaves were reported at 11% vs the 5 year average of 12%. 

Sea surface temperatures in the Pacific have been cooling so quickly during July and August that forecasters are now looking to shift outlooks from a developing El Niño to more neutral conditions or even possibly La Niña.  In June most predictions were for the development of a moderate El Niño between December 2017, and February 2018.  This rapid cool down of the sea surface temps is pointing forecasters to watch for La Niña development, some of the other components needed to solidify that prediction are present but are still weak at this time. At this time a neutral pattern is likely to prevail but if a La Niña were to develop it would bring a colder winter to the northern portion of the U.S. and Canada and milder temps to the southern states.

NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center have updated their forecasts for the month of September and the outlook is cool and dry.  The Corn Belt is expected to conclude the rest of the growing season with little or no precipitation with cooler than normal temps.

Parts of the northern Rocky Mountains have already experienced their first freezing temps and accumulating snowfall of the season.  So when does the first freeze of the season typically occur?

  • September 15th is the date looked to for areas of the northern Plains and upper Midwest (close to Canadian border) and inland areas of the upper Great Lakes. 
  • October 1st-By this date much of the West and Midwest have their first freeze along with much of New England, the Adirondacks, and Catskills and Appalachians regions.
  • By October 15th the northern Southwest, central Plains, mid-Mississippi Valley, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley have had their first freeze.
  • November 1st some regions of the Southwest, southern Plains, mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, the mid-Atlantic and major cities from New York City to Philidelphia, Baltimore and Washington D.C. These cities generally are slower to reach 32 degrees than surrounding areas due to urban heating effect.
  • November 15th some portions of Southern California and Southeast will get their first temps of 32 degrees or lower. 
  • All of Florida, Southeastern Texas, Louisiana, southern Mississippi, Alabama, southern Georgia and coastal Carolinas typically do not experience temperatures 32 degrees or lower.

Crop Progress


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