Freeze Event This Week Could Greatly Impact Immature Crops

Cool air could lead to an early freeze across the Northern Corn Belt.

Published on: Sep 15, 2011

Given all of the weather challenges this growing season, the last thing farmers need is an early freeze. USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey says there's been concern about an early freeze all along due to the late planting and slow crop development early in the season across the Corn Belt. He says cool air would start freeze events in North Dakota Wednesday, with a larger event stretching from the Dakotas to Michigan Thursday. Rippey says this could have a serious impact on immature corn and soybeans.

"The numbers coming out of NASS as of Sept. 11 indicate that in the four Northern Corn Belt states from North Dakota to Michigan corn has dented in a range of 61% in Michigan to 83% in Minnesota," Rippey said. "That leaves a significant portion of the crop still quite vulnerable to a freeze."

Rippey says that only 6% to 10% of the corn crop in the Northern Corn Belt states is fully mature. And even more vulnerable to corn are some of the later developing soybeans.

"We see only 31% to 48% of the soybean leaves yellowing so that leaves more than half the crop highly vulnerable to a freeze across the Northern Corn Belt," Rippey said. "In terms of dropping leaves or reaching full maturity for soybeans, only 6% to 13% in those Northern Corn Belt states from North Dakota to Michigan."

According to Rippey, the freeze could last into Friday morning in the Great Lakes region and moving into New England by the weekend in which case any immature fruit and vegetable crops would be in the path of this event and producers will need guard, if possible, against the freeze."

Rippey says a warm-up won't be far behind, providing a chance to take a look at any damage across the Northern Corn Belt as early as next week.