The 2019 Midwest harvest is wrapping up later than normal across most areas of the nation. 

2019 Corn Harvest Progress: 76%
5-Year Average: 92 percent

While “ideal” weather rarely occurs through an entire growing season, the 2019 growing season was particularly challenging. 

The recent record cold and snow in spots has not helped. Record-cold dominated over the past week or so. The unofficial start to winter has been “extreme” as measured by the Winter Season Severity Index. 

Growing Season Timeline

Let’s review the challenges to the 2019 growing season with a focus on three locations: 

Plains / Lincoln, Nebraska
Iowa / Fort Dodge, Iowa
Eastern Corn Belt / Indianapolis Indiana

Plains / Lincoln Nebraska: Unusually Wet = Lagging Harvest

The western agriculture belt received soaking rainfall in the spring that resulted in a delayed planting. Rainfall remained above normal through much of the remainder of the growing season.

Adequate summer rain led towards an improvement in crop conditions, ending the season close to the 5-year average (rated good or excellent). However, due to the late planting, the corn harvest is behind schedule.

Harvest Progress
This year: 85%
5-Year average: 96% 

Iowa / Fort Dodge Iowa: An Unusually Wet Season = Reduced Crop Condition

Iowa’s growing-season weather was variable across the state. However, much of the state received repeated periods of excess rainfall.

Furthermore, river flooding at times inundated a sizeable number of fields. 

The result of the extreme weather conditions is a reduced crop quality compared to recent-past years. 

Harvest Progress
This year: 77%
5-Year average: 93% 

Eastern Corn Belt / Indianapolis: Variable Rainfall = Poor Crop Quality

Growing-season rain was quite variable across the eastern corn belt. Normal amounts of spring rain led towards acceptable planting conditions. However, the core of the growing season experienced periods of both extended dry spells as well a periods of excess rainfall. 

Not enough rain towards the start of the season followed by too much rain resulted in seasonal crop conditions the lowest within the past 5 years.

Harvest Progress
This year: 80%
5-Year average: 91%