Seasonable warmth and sunshine should benefit corn and hay maturation, harvest


KIMBALL – Some of the first frost of the season arrived in Kimball County just before sunrise on Saturday, Oct. 8, when the air temperature dipped to 32 degrees from 6:30-7:30 a.m. More widespread frost is expected to arrive in the early mornings beginning on Sunday, Oct. 16.

A shifting pressure ridge to the west and pressure trough to the northeast is expected to provide seasonably mild weather for the next 10-14 days across the tri-state region of southeast Wyoming, northeast Colorado, and the Nebraska Panhandle.

As of Tuesday morning (Oct. 11) forecasters were predicting plenty of sunshine and warmth for the region for the next one to two weeks. Such conditions should be ideal for final harvesting activities as the 2022 growing season nears completion. In general, corn, sugarbeet and hay harvest is about all that remains across the region.

In and around Kimball County many dryland crops, with the exception of corn and some hay crops, have all been harvested. Very little corn has been combined but most of the crop is on the verge of being ready. A good deal of annual hay is being swathed and baled and final-cutting alfalfa harvest is getting underway.

Winter wheat planting in and around Kimball County is essentially complete with very good germination and emergence. Autumnal wheat stands are looking quite healthy and a few more weeks of seasonably mild weather should put next year’s wheat crop in good condition for winter.

Well managed pastures and rangeland in and around Kimball County continue to benefit from recent precipitation. Both warm and cool season grasses are quite green and busy photosynthesizing and translocating energy and nutrients to root systems, which should put grassland ecosystems in good shape before winter dormancy sets in. Weedy winter annual grasses have germinated and are providing tasty late-season forage along fence lines and on disturbed ground. Many producers continue to graze cattle on temporarily fenced proso and wheat stubble where volunteer is providing excellent late-season forage.

Regional Forecast and Conditions

As of Tuesday morning (Oct. 11), the temperature at sunrise was 57 degrees under clear skies. Winds were westerly at 18 mph with the barometer falling through 29.86 inches of mercury (in/Hg).

Today’s weather (Friday, Oct. 14) is forecast to be sunny and seasonably warm with a high of 71 degrees. Friday night should be mostly clear with an overnight low of 38 degrees. Day length will be 11 hours and 12 minutes, night length 12 hours and 48 minutes.

Saturday and Sunday should be sunny and cooler with daytime highs reaching into the mid 60’s and overnight lows falling into the low 30’s.

Conditions Monday through Wednesday are expected to be similar to the weekend with mostly sunny skies and daily highs climbing into the low-to mid-60’s before falling into the low- to mid-30’s overnight.

Widespread early morning frost is forecast Sunday through Wednesday.

At Kimball the Oct. 4-10 daytime high averaged 66.57 degrees, about 9.0 degrees cooler than last week. The weekly high temperature was 76 degrees on Oct. 10. Overnight lows averaged 36.42, about 8.58 degrees cooler than last week. The weekly low temperature was 32 degrees on Oct. 8. The weekly mean temperature at Kimball was 51.5 degrees, about 8.25 degrees cooler than last week and 2.9 degrees warmer than the October average of 48.6 degrees. The 129-year month-to-date (Oct. 1-14) average daily temperature is 49.9, and the highest Oct. 1-4 daily average was 61.1 degrees in 1963, with the lowest 36.3 in 2009. The 129-year average high and low temperatures at Kimball for October are 64.3 and 32.8, respectively.

Kimball received 0.01 inches of rain on Oct. 6. Otherwise, it was entirely dry over the Oct. 4-10 period.
Winds near Kimball averaged westerly and quite mild over the Oct. 4-10 period. Gusts for the week averaged 14.42 mph. High gust for the week was 23 mph on Oct. 6.

Historic climate data

Here’s an overview of Oct. 14 temperature and precipitation highs, lows, and averages over the preceding 129 years at Kimball. Data is taken from the High Plains Regional Climate Center (www.hprcc.unl.edu), where you can find and track data for your own particular location.

Last year (Oct. 14, 2021): Daily high temperature 46 degrees, overnight low 33 degrees, average temperature 39.5 degrees. Precipitation zero inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The warmest Oct. 14 on record was 86 degrees in 1996. The coolest Oct. 14 high temperature was 34 degrees in 2009. The coldest Oct. 14 overnight low was 8 degrees in 1969. The warmest Oct. 14 overnight low was 48 degrees in 1947. Over the years since 1893 the high temperature on Oct. 14 has averaged 63 degrees, the overnight low 31 degrees, the daily average 47.0 degrees, precipitation has averaged 0.04 inches, snowfall zero inches, snow depth zero inches.

The highest Oct. 14 precipitation total was 1.36 inches (rain) in 2007. Highest snowfall was 4.5 inches in 1970, highest snow depth 6.0 inches in 1969.

USDA Crop Progress Reports, Oct. 10

Nebraska – For the week ending Oct. 9, 2022, there were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 44% very short, 38% short, 18% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 46% very short, 34% short, 20% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Corn condition rated 18% very poor, 20% poor, 23% fair, 31% good, and 8% excellent. Corn mature was 91%, near 92% last year and 88% for the five-year average. Harvested was 34%, ahead of 28% last year and 22% average.

Soybean condition rated 13% very poor, 20% poor, 27% fair, 32% good, and 8% excellent. Soybeans dropping leaves was 96%, near 97% last year and 95% average. Harvested was 54%, near 56% last year, but ahead of 42% average.

Winter wheat planted was 86%, near 87% last year, and equal to average. Emerged was 52%, behind 58% last year and 57% average.

Sorghum condition rated 38% very poor, 24% poor, 18% fair, 15% good, and 5% excellent. Sorghum mature was 75%, behind 89% last year and 87% average. Harvested was 16%, well behind 36% last year, and behind 23% average.

Dry edible beans dropping leaves was 96%, near 97% last year. Harvested was 73%, behind 80% last year.

Pasture and range conditions rated 45% very poor, 37% poor, 15% fair, 3% good, and 0% excellent.

Wyoming – For the week ending Oct. 9, 2022, temperatures were once again above average. Temperatures ran about 2 degrees above normal in the east, and as much as 6 degrees above normal in far western portions of the State. Some much-needed moisture was received in portions of the southeast the first two days of the week. Isolated portions of Carbon, Goshen, Laramie, and Platte Counties received the greatest benefit of the rains. A few locations received as much at 0.5 inches of precipitation. Parts of Sheridan County also received some much-needed precipitation at the start of the week. For the majority of the state, however, moisture levels were insignificant or zero.

According to the US Drought Monitor the amount of land rated drought free increased to 18.2%, compared to 15.7% the previous week. The amount of land rated abnormally dry stood at 35.1%, up 3.3 percentage points from last week. Moderate drought fell to 26.7%, down from 32.5%. Severe drought conditions covered 16.4% of the State, a slight increase from 16.3% last week. Extreme drought conditions sat at 3.6%, down slightly from 3.7% the previous week.

Lincoln County remained for the most part dry and cold and moisture was needed. Calves were being weaned and shipped.

In Platte County, pastures remained dry. Sugar beet harvest started at a slow pace and corn for grain harvest also began. Fall planted wheat fields in the southeastern portions of the county benefited from the timely moisture that was received. Temperatures ranged from the upper 40s to mid-70s.

Irrigation water supplies across the State were rated 32% very poor, 9% poor, 21% fair, and 38% good, compared to 23% very poor, 18% poor, 21% fair, and 38% good last week.

Stock water supplies across Wyoming were rated 15% very short, 37% short, and 48% adequate, compared to 15% very short, 46% short, and 39% adequate last week.

Colorado – For the week ending Oct. 9, 2022, with minimal precipitation and ideal weather conditions harvest activities made good progress across the State, while cooler temperatures provided relief from weeks of above average temperatures.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor just under 44% of the State was categorized in moderate drought or worse, down from the previous week. Over 13% of the State is experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions, down two percentage points from last week. The exceptional drought conditions noted across portions of Phillips and Sedgwick Counties remain unchanged from last week, accounting for less than 1% of the state. 

Southwestern counties were the only portion of the State to receive any measurable moisture last week, with southern La Plata County getting just under an inch of moisture.

Sorghum harvest continues in the northeastern portion of the State, with 25% of the crop harvested, behind the previous year at 32%, but ahead of the 5-year average of 19%.

Potato harvest in the San Luis Valley advanced quickly last week, with reports of average yields and good quality. Reporters note that third cutting alfalfa was delayed due to rains, but harvest has picked up again amongst dry conditions.

Fourth cutting of alfalfa is progressing well in the northeastern and southwestern portions of the State, jumping ahead of the 5-year average.

Statewide, growers had sown 85% of the 2023 winter wheat crop, compared with 86% last year and a 5-year average of 83%. Corn for silage harvest is almost complete, with 98% of the crop harvested. The corn crop matured ahead of average and corn for grain harvest progressed well last week, but still falls short of the previous year at 32% and the 5-year average of 25%. Livestock are in good condition overall despite depleting pasture and rangeland conditions.

Stored feed supplies were rated 9% very short, 31% short, 55% adequate, and 5% surplus. Sheep death loss was 90% average and 10% light. Cattle death loss was 1% heavy, 93% average and 6% light.

U.S. Drought Monitor

USDM reports derive normals/averages from the most recent 30-year period, though longer timescale data are used where available. The USDM generally reports on current drought conditions and offers a comprehensive history of drought across the Continental U.S. Near-term temperature and precipitation predictions derive from National Weather Service (NWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasts.

Current drought status for the Nebraska Panhandle, Southwest Wyoming, and Northeast Colorado. Drought Categories: D0 – abnormally dry. D1 – moderate drought. D2 – severe drought. D3 – extreme drought. D4 – exceptional drought.

(Oct. 4, 2022) After a mid-level low pressure system tracked inland from the northeastern Pacific and became stationary over the interior West, heavy precipitation (1 to 3 inches) occurred across northern Idaho along with the north-central Rockies. Therefore, improvements were made across much of the East and north-central Rockies. Conversely, a dry week resulted in an expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) along with intensifying drought conditions across much of the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley, and Midwest. D1 was added to parts of the Pacific Northwest. A mix of improvements and degradations were made to Hawaii, while Alaska and Puerto Rico remain drought-free.

High Plains: Short and long-term indicators including SPIs, soil moisture, and crop conditions support a 1-category degradation for southern South Dakota, southwestern Nebraska, and parts of Kansas. Pond levels are low in Kansas and limited soil moisture is available for winter wheat planting. Abundant recent precipitation (locally more than 2 inches) prompted improvements along the western slopes of the Colorado Rockies. Improvements were also made to northeastern Colorado due to relatively significant precipitation (more than 0.5 inch) this past week. Following heavy precipitation during early August, little to no rainfall for a six-week period resulted in an increase in D1 across southeastern Colorado. Beneficial precipitation during the past 30 to 60 days along with improving soil moisture conditions prompted improvements across parts of Wyoming.

West: Late summer heat and increasing 90-day precipitation deficits of more than 6 inches resulted in the addition of short-term moderate drought (D1) to parts of northwest Oregon and western Washington. This new D1 area is supported by 30 to 120-day SPI values, near record low 28-day streamflows for this time of year, and declining soil moisture. Conversely, heavy precipitation (1 to 4 inches) supported a broad 1-category improvement across parts of west-central Montana and the impact was changed from SL to L only. 12 to 24-month SPI values continue to support D1+ throughout western Montana. Based in part on above-normal temperatures during August and September, 1-category degradations were made to parts of southern Idaho. Farther to the north, beneficial precipitation during the past week resulted in a 1-category improvement to northern Idaho. Although Arizona and much of New Mexico were status quo this week, this region will be reevaluated next week as many areas received more than 0.5 inch of rainfall from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 and it was a wet Monsoon for the Southwest.

Near-term forecast: The 6–10-day outlook favors a variable temperature pattern during this 5-day period. Below-normal temperatures are most likely across the Rockies and Southwest, while above normal temperatures are favored for the Pacific Northwest and lower to middle Mississippi Valley. Probabilities for above-normal precipitation are elevated across the southwestern and south-central U.S. with a likely continuation of a drier-than-normal pattern for the Pacific Northwest.

Terminology: EDDI – Evaporative Demand Drought Index. This is an experimental model for drought prediction, using nationwide data from 1980-present. SPE – Standardized Precipitation index, correlating present month/year precipitation with 30-plus year historical data. SPEI – Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index. SWE – Snow Water Equivalent. 

For more information on the U.S. Drought Monitor, including an explanation of terminology, visit: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu.

© 2022-Business Farmer

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