Midwest Rain/Snow Halts Harvest - Tinder Dry in South and West

Oct 11, 2019  | 2 min  | Ep4508

A frost in October is no surprise but the powerful weather swings being experienced across the country are rarely welcome.

Josh Buettner has the story. Producer contact josh@iptv.org

An early season winter storm blasted parts of the upper plains late this week.

Snow blanketed areas from Montana to Minnesota, with nearly 20 inches expected in portions of North Dakota and Minnesota. Any field work being done was abruptly suspended.

Following a small period of dry weather early in the week, combines were able to get into Iowa fields, but the conditions were less than ideal. Tracks were left behind in many fields as producers tried to get some of the crop out of the field before being stalled again by an approaching weather system.

Shortly after the window opened, rain came again shutting down harvest progress. Machinery remained in the field, waiting for the next opportunity to combine the crop. Corn harvest across the nation is more than 50 percent behind last year at this time.

The rain in the Plains would be welcomed with open arms in the South.

As indicated in the weekly Drought Monitor snapshot, a flash drought has settled into a region from Texas to Pennsylvania. The region’s cattle, corn and cotton crops have been impacted by dry conditions aggravated by record high summer temperatures. About 45 million people across a dozen southern states have felt the effects.

Georgia is among those suffering from the drought. Pastures in the Peach State are dry and the need for rain is vital.

Dean Bagwell, Georgia Farmer: "Looking ahead if we don't get enough rain and pastures doesn't recover, we'll be dipping in to winter feeding hay before time, or have to liquidate some cattle."

In the West, some customers of Pacific Gas and Electric started getting their electricity back. The California-based company shutoff power in some 750,000 locations due to high winds. Officials with the energy provider were concerned utility lines could be brought down and sparks from the live wires might start wildfires.

The power cuts could move to new areas as fires, not started by downed power lines, spread across overly dry regions of the state.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.

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