First Midwest snow complicates remaining harvest

U. S. Midwest farmers who still have corn in their fields got a grim reminder last week that their harvest window was closing fast as the first snowfall of the season fell on parts of the western corn belt Nov. 7.

Storms that dropped one to three inches of snow on parts of Iowa and Minnesota and caused blizzard conditions in areas of the Dakotas were expected to bring a mix of rain and snow to the rest of the grain belt this weekend, forecasters said.

The wet weather will further stall a corn harvest that is already a week to 10 days behind schedule.

Most soybeans have already been stored away for the winter but nearly half the corn crop was yet to be harvested, according to the latest U. S. Agriculture Department data.

A windstorm that passed through the region about two weeks ago knocked over some of the corn plants and this week’s moisture will further delay the drying process and stall harvest of those acres.

Shorter days and colder weather will make it hard for corn to dry naturally in the field, which means that farmers will have to pay to dry the crops, or be penalized by elevators and processors for delivering supplies with high moisture levels.

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Karl Plume is a reporter for Reuters.

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