Iowa Public Television


Unseasonably Cool Weather in Minnesota and the Dakotas

posted on August 27, 2004

The International Grain Council has expanded its estimate for global wheat production in the current marketing year by eight million tons. The increase reflects larger-than-expected yields for North America, much of Europe, and southern growing regions of the former Soviet Union.

Traders are mulling other factors in the soybean pits this week: mainly the impact of frosty low temperature readings across the northern U.S.

Unseasonably Cool Weather in Minnesota and the Dakotas With harvest just around the corner, unseasonably cool weather is wreaking havoc on crops in the north. Temperatures dropped into the low-30s in parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas last weekend, especially damaging crops that were planted late because of a wet spring.

According to a Farm Service Agency disaster specialist, initial assessments indicate the cold weather did more than 100 million dollars in damage. Some counties are guessing the damage at 80 to 90 percent across the board, while others are reporting 50 to 60 percent damage. Growers from the North say the tops of their corn, dry bean, millet, soybeans and sunflowers have frosted off. The worst damage came to soybeans.

University of Minnesota agronomists say corn and soybean farmers will need one of the warmest Septembers on record to make their crops near-normal. That means highs should be in the mid-80s and lows shouldn't fall below the 60s; but meteorologists aren't forecasting that. However, they also don't expect temperatures to be as cool as they were last weekend in the next few weeks. Minnesota saw a warming trend begin on Sunday.

The early frost didn't help already declining crop conditions, especially in the Dakotas. This week, USDA reported 52 percent of North Dakota soybeans in good to excellent condition, down from 67 percent one month ago. Meanwhile, 72 percent of South Dakota beans were good to excellent, down from 82 percent last month. Corn crop conditions were even worse.

Tags: agriculture crops Minnesota news South Dakota weather winter