Six weeks ago Jim Newman expected July to be hotter than a firecracker. While there have been a few hot days at inopportune times, such as when straw has been ready to bale and get out of the field to make way for the soybean planter and double crop soybeans, overall it's been a mild summer temperature-wise so far.
And there have been lots of rainy days. More rain has fallen out of those rainy-day clouds in southern Indiana than in northern Indiana, but both parts of the state has witnessed more than their share of thundershowers, rain and drizzle. Even a few mornings earlier in June when the temperature fell into the high 50s at night produced fog in some areas of the Hoosier state.
Newman, the retired ag climatologist, West Lafayette, now says that July may not be so hot after all. What he really foresees at least for the next several weeks is a continuation of the pattern that has played itself out across the Midwest so far this season. That would mean relatively mild temperatures and many rainy days, with slightly above to slightly blow normal rainfall, depending exactly upon where you farm in the Corn Belt.
"August could get hotter and a bit drier I suppose," he says. "But once patterns set up it takes a while to break them, and it certainly looks now like the pattern that set itself up earlier in the summer could hang around for awhile here in our area of the country."
The bottom line could be reasonably good conditions for corn across the Corn Belt. While Newman no longer plugs numbers into his own computer model to predict the size of the national corn and soybean crop each year, he suspects that we should be headed toward a normal corn crop. Critical period for corn is either approaching now, or will be in the next few weeks. He sees only slim chances of a change in the dominant weather pattern that would negatively impact corn before then.
Things could get a little more dicey for soybeans, depending upon if and when and where it might turn a bit warmer and drier in August. That month, usually the middle half of it, is the critical period for soybeans.