Hot and Dry Threat: Corn Belt Braces for Summer Heat Impact on Crops

Jul 24, 2023

The Corn Belt faces a pivotal period as scorching heat threatens to overshadow the recent relief from dry conditions. A heat ridge expanding from the South is poised to bring above-normal temperatures and reduced precipitation, leaving corn and soybean production for the 2023 season hanging in the balance. 

As the ridge shifts westward and envelops the Midwest, temperatures are expected to soar, with many areas experiencing 90-degree weather and sporadic triple-digit readings. The extent of the heat's reach remains uncertain, with eastern states like Ohio and Michigan expected to witness less intense temperatures in the 80s Fahrenheit. Nevertheless, warm overnight lows will add to the challenge, providing little respite for crops. 

The presence of disturbances moving over the top of the ridge is likely to produce thunderstorm clusters and potential derechos. While some areas may receive much-needed rainfall, regions south of the thunderstorm track could suffer significant crop damage due to the ongoing drought. Kansas and Missouri have already faced challenges despite recent rainfall, leaving corn and soybeans vulnerable to magnified heat stress. 

As corn enters its crucial pollination and fill stage, and soybeans begin blooming and setting pods, moisture becomes a critical factor. The existing drought conditions leave little to no reserves for the crops to rely upon during the impending heatwave. The impact of the heat will be even more pronounced if the dry spell persists deeper into August. 

Both models and DTN forecasts suggest that the first half of August will continue with above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall, exacerbating the situation for crop growth in parched soil. 

The outlook, however, holds a glimmer of hope, as projections indicate the heat ridge might recede in mid-August, allowing a cooler trough to settle in the Great Lakes region. Such a shift would bring much-needed relief to the Corn Belt and offer respite to the beleaguered crops. 

As the region braces for the looming heat wave, farmers, researchers, and experts are closely monitoring the situation. Prayers are directed towards a timely end to the heat pattern, providing much-needed reprieve and better prospects for the Corn Belt's agricultural future. 

Source : wisconsinagconnection
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