Midwest agriculture has seemingly suffered from excess moisture all year. Prevented Planting in the spring and a wet fall has created a lot of issues for farmers. Where crops did get planted there was a lot of late planted acres. Delayed planting and fall moisture is prolonging harvest. To add to this years issues, wet heavy snow is falling in most of North Dakota and some of South Dakota and Minnesota. As the snow accumulates and sticks to the corn and covers the soybeans, farmers are stuck inside to wait out the weather.
Snow on corn isn’t anything new. There are two major factors that are a cause for concern right now; temperature and growth stage. Prior to the snow, temperatures haven’t been overly cold, with very little freezing. The temperature is causing the snow to be heavy. The corn is currently in a stage where the stocks are turning brown because they are not absorbing any more moisture. Because this stage is just starting in a lot of places due to the late planting, the leaves are not dead and completely brittle. This being the case, the snow is sticking to the leaves. The heavy snow that is accumulating on the corn can bend or break the increasingly brittle stocks, especially when there are high winds with this snow.
Most years, soybeans are harvested before it snows. Currently a lot of soybeans are ready to be harvested, but the fall moisture has been delaying harvest. The biggest for concern for soybeans right now is time. High ground moisture levels, with little freezing is making it difficult to harvest because it is so wet. The snow is adding more ground moisture. Farmers will need to wait until the snow melts, if it accumulates enough to cover the beans, and the ground is dry or frozen enough to harvest. But, the longer harvest is delayed, the greater the chance of pod splitting and shattering. When the pods split or shatter, the beans fall to the ground causing major yield and revenue losses.
So what can farmers do? Wait. There still is hope. The wet heavy snow will probably melt. The ground moisture will be high, but if we get a quick melt and a few hard freezes we should be able to finish off the 2019 crop year strong.