Harvest season brings end to oddball growing season of weather extremes

September 30, 2018

YANKTON - It’s the first full week of fall and many Nebraska farmers are already starting the harvest. Even weather experts admit it’s been an unusual growing season.

Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub, says 2018 is turning out to be a year of extremes, to be sure.

“The northern part of the corn belt, we had snows in April, we had wet conditions, we were slowed down from planting well into May in some places,” Todey says. “The southern part of the corn belt had some delays but not too badly.”

After the late start due to the cold, wet conditions, the heat wave rolled in.

“We’ve had pretty regular heat throughout the summer, very warm conditions back in May and June,” Todey says. “Over Memorial Day, we had 90s which is really pretty high for that time of year. We had a lot of heat early on, then, kind of mellowed after that.”

Despite the ups and downs, it ended up being a decent season for most growers.

“Crops matured pretty quickly so that’s moved us along,” Todey says. “We went from being behind to caught up now. We’re getting into a situation where we’re seeing corn maturing along with soybeans or even ahead of soybeans in some places.”

Updated computer models show cooler-than-normal temperatures across the region through the end of the month and into October, which may bring the first frost.

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