Dry weather continued to dominate many parts of the country the week of Oct. 23-29, allowing a rapid harvest pace to proceed for a variety of crops, according to the Nov. 1 USDA Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. Little or no precipitation fell across large sections of the East, High Plains, Far West and upper Midwest. However, a notable rain event unfolded across the southeastern Plains and mid-South, extending into the middle and lower Mississippi Valley.
Significant precipitation also fell in the Pacific Northwest, extending into the Cascades, while rain and snow showers dotted the Rockies and adjacent areas of the Intermountain West. Despite the soil moisture improvements in parts of the West and other areas of the country, rangeland and pastures experienced only limited recovery due to lingering impacts from drought and October cold snaps. In a sharp reversal from the previous week, chilly air settled across the West, while warmth returned to the eastern half of the United States.
In Missouri, daily-record rainfall amounts for Oct. 25 reached 2.31 inches in St. Louis and 1.75 inches in West Plains. The Mississippi River in St. Louis rose more than 4 feet, from a minimum stage of -3.09 feet on Oct. 24 to 1.09 feet by the morning of Oct. 26, before falling back slightly. Stages below -3.09 feet in St. Louis have occurred only four times since the beginning of the 21st century — in January and October 2003; December 2005; and December 2012 to January 2013.
Locally heavy showers brought needed relief from dryness to farming districts in central and northeastern Argentina. Rainfall totaled 10 to 50 mm from La Pampa and Buenos Aires northeastward to Paraguay, with heavier amounts concentrated over western Buenos Aires. Lingering cold (nighttime lows dropping near or below freezing) slowed vegetative growth of winter grains over traditionally cooler southern production areas.
According to the government of Argentina, sunflowers and corn were 32 and 19% planted, respectively, as of Oct. 27. Corn was just 8% planted in Buenos Aires, compared with 46% last year, as farmers awaited additional moisture for germination.
The first significant rain of the season fell in Brazil’s northeastern interior, providing timely moisture for planting and germination of soybeans. The heaviest rainfall was concentrated over Tocantins and neighboring locations in Goiás, Maranhão, and Piauí, with lower accumulations in western Bahia.
According to the government of Mato Grosso, soybeans were 83% planted as of Oct. 28, equal to last season’s pace. Seasonal fieldwork also continued to make good progress farther south; according to the government of Paraná, first-crop corn and soybeans were 82 and 44% planted, respectively, as of Oct. 24.