S.D. temperature outlook through Dec. | TSLN.com

S.D. temperature outlook through Dec.

The warm-up across South Dakota this week may bring some optimism to farmers as preparations begin for fall harvest. The potential for frost last week brought worries to a few farmers, but fortunately only about 1 percent of the total corn acres in the U.S. were impacted by frost, and the weather is warmer this week as we head into the first day of astronomical fall on Sept. 23.

However, wetter than average conditions are likely in northern and northeastern South Dakota as we move into October, said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist, as she references the latest national climate outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. The same climate outlook shows above, below and near average temperatures are all equally likely in the coming month.

“This latest climate outlook may be a mixed blessing,” Edwards said. “Climate forecasts are leaning wetter and that could impact grain moisture and the ability to do field work at harvest.”

On a positive note, Edwards said the climate forecasts are no longer trending cooler, as they have much of the 2014 growing season.

She added that the cooler than average summer and early fall season has delayed crop development, particularly for corn, soybeans and other field crops. “The cooler conditions, in combination with ample moisture in June and August, ensured that most cropping areas in the state were not drought stressed and crop conditions are currently rated very good for most of South Dakota,” she said.

The latest United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) projections show record yields for both corn and soybeans this year. “There is hope of warmer climate conditions through October so that South Dakota farmers can realize this yield potential,” she said.

Pasture and range conditions in South Dakota are currently rated 70 percent in very good to excellent condition, among the best in the nation. Edwards said according to the climate outlook, nationwide, pasture and range conditions are rated the best of any year since at least 1996, when these measurements began.

“The climate outlook through the end of the year shows increased probability of warmer conditions across the northern states for the 3-month period of October through December,” she said. “This is consistent with El Niño’s signature, which often brings warmer than average winter climate to our area.”

Current climate models do not show a clear signal for late fall and early winter precipitation in South Dakota.

Soil moisture is in good condition for this time of year, so there is not much concern for drought development through December.

To learn more, visit iGrow.org.

–SDSU Extension

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