It’s not normal to fret about frost during the last weeks of August. But farmers in the Midwest will attest that this summer’s cooler-than-usual temperatures have made it anything but a normal growing season.
So when Jack Frost visited parts of North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan recently, it heightened concerns about whether corn and soybeans will get ripe this year. In parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, for example, crops lag anywhere from two to four weeks behind.
Parts of Minnesota got at cold as 20 degrees F Aug. 20 and 21, with growers in some areas losing as much as 30 percent to 100 percent of their soybean crop. Commodity analysts anticipate soybean production in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota (which produce about 20 percent of U.S. soybeans) will drop by as much as 60 million bushels between the four states. Corn grain losses are pegged at about 10 percent to 15 percent for affected fields — expected to be millions of acres.
Temperatures in Michigan were anywhere from 5 to 7 degrees below normal over the last couple of weeks, and the cooler days, combined with cool nights, are slowing crop development there, too. Corn grow is slow since plants simply hold steady, rather than grow, without warmer temperatures.
Even weather officials in Illinois report that the state is on target to record the coolest August ever.
Minneapolis Star Tribune, Michigan Ag Connection, Minnesota Ag Connection