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Fall Climate Outlook: Warmer Temps, Less Precipitation
USAgNet - 09/29/2017

Warmer temperatures and less precipitation are predicted through the end of October, according to the most recent Climate Outlook from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center.

"Fortunately, the climate outlook for the remainder of the fall season may allow for crops and soils to dry out," said Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension State Climatologist.

Edwards said that moving into the first week in October 2017, temperatures are going to rebound, becoming warmer than average across the region. "Computer models have been indicating a warmer than average pattern change to occur starting next week," Edwards said.

Along with the warmer temperatures, October is also more likely to be drier than average in the east and central regions of South Dakota.

"This does not mean that the area will not receive any rain, but rather that it is more likely to be less than average for this time of year," she said. "If the Climate Prediction Center outlooks hold true, this would be good news for our eastern South Dakota farmers who need a little more time to complete fall activities."

Edwards added that there has not been a widespread hard frost yet this season. This week is about the average first frost date for the central, south and eastern regions.

"It appears that farmers can look towards a longer growing season again this year," she said. "It is unclear yet if we will have as late of a frost as last year, where some southern areas did not measure subfreezing temperatures until November."

Unfortunately, Edwards added, most of the recent rains have not fallen on the most severe drought areas in western South Dakota.

"This region needs some fall moisture for winter wheat, forages and pastures and rangeland. These plants will store up the moisture for use early next spring," Edwards said. "This area will be closely watched, as they are closing out an extreme drought year and moisture will be critical for recovery in the 2018 season."

Recent rainfall has slowed fall harvest in some areas of South Dakota.

"Recent rains have further slowed down fall harvest as the grain in the field and soils are now too wet for harvest activities," said Edwards, of the 1.5 to more than 4-inches which fell in areas from Gregory County northeast to Codington County.

Despite the slowdown in corn and soybean harvest, this moisture is welcome for the many winter wheat growers who have half of their acres planted as of September 25, 2017.

According to the National Agriculture Statistics Survey, as of September 25, 2017, 32 percent of corn was mature, compared to the five-year average of 57 percent. About 4 percent of soybeans were harvested, compared to the five-year average of 17 percent.

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