More favorable weather covers the Heartland

Across the Corn Belt, dry weather prevails, aside from snow flurries in the Great Lakes region. However, late-season fieldwork remains largely at a standstill due to soggy or snow-covered fields. The U.S. corn harvest was 89% complete by December 1—the slowest harvest to this point since 2009, when the crop was 82% harvested. However, more than one-third of the corn remained in the field on December 1, 2019, in North Dakota (36% harvested), Michigan (66%), and Wisconsin (66%).

On the Plains, mild weather has begun to erode an expansive snow cover across the northern half of the region. Still, current snow depths include 8 inches in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and 4 inches in Billings, Montana. Across the Dakotas, many crops remain in the field, with little immediate hope for reaching harvest completion. On December 1, for example, the sunflower harvest was just 51% complete in North Dakota, compared to the 5-year average of 94%.

In the South, mild weather is returning across the western Gulf Coast region. Meanwhile, chilly conditions linger in the Southeast. Dry weather throughout the South favors late-autumn fieldwork, including cotton harvesting. Nationally, the cotton harvest was 83% complete by December 1, compared to the 5-year average of 81%.

In the West, precipitation associated with a slow-moving storm system has largely drifted offshore, although a few showers linger across California. Dense fog has developed in some areas, including California’s San Joaquin Valley. Despite recent rainfall, the cotton harvest was ahead of schedule on December 1 in California (93% complete) and Arizona (86%).

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