It may not pay to dilly-dally on harvest this fall, even if you have to dry some corn or harvest at slightly higher moisture contents than you prefer. Greg Soulje, a noted climatologist based in Chicago, Ill., has issued his national forecast for fall, including what he sees most likely to happen in Indiana and the Midwest.
In a nutshell, he doesn't see the mild - to-warm, dry pattern holding forever. It may hold through early fall. However, he looks for a major shift in the jet stream and a resulting major shift in weather patterns during the fall season. Fall is always a volatile season, but he looks for even more volatility this year, especially in the Midwest and Great Plains regions.
What it boils down to is that Soulje is calling for above-normal precipitation in mid-to-late fall. It's important to note that the change is not expected until the middle of the fall season. At first this may be in the form of rain. For some areas it may mean early snowfall later in the season.
He's also looking for cooler than normal to much below normal temperatures by mid-to-late fall in Indiana and across much of the Midwest. There will naturally be a variation in temperatures as you travel south from the Great Lakes through northern Indiana to the Ohio Valley and southern Indiana. This will be a major deviation from a summer that produced 41 days of 90 degrees or higher and two days when the mercury reached 100 degrees, including the last time it reached that level, on Sept. 2.
The good news from Soulje for the country in general is that some of the worst drought areas in the Southwest should finally see significant relief beginning in mid-fall. Only the most southern areas of the southwest and southeast, including Florida, are likely to remain dry even during this mid-to-late fall period.What it means for farmers in Indiana, he says, is that they should be on their toes during early harvest. Don't assume that good harvesting conditions, if they exist early in the fall, will continue throughout the entire season. Farmers who use that prediction as a basis for making decisions will likely fare better than those who ignore it and are in no rush to get fall work done, he concludes.