How Will Weather Impact the Harvest Season?

Read Time: 3 minutes
October 7, 2021
Dr. Brad Colman
Director of Weather Strategy at Climate LLC

Making the Most of the Season: From Droughts to Thunderstorms

Farmers are no strangers to the importance of weather. After all, every crop’s destiny is directly impacted by the whims of Mother Nature.

While some growers were fortunate enough to enjoy a balanced growing season in terms of weather, others in northern states like North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota struggled with intense drought. 

Severe, sporadic thunderstorms in those same areas also caused lodging in corn fields this past August. Some southern and eastern growers also saw severe weather impact their fields as hurricane systems made their way inland from the coast.

Despite region-specific challenges, farmers still have a chance to make the most of the harvest season and watch their hard work pay off. So, let’s talk about what you can expect as we move further into harvest season across the Midwest.

Your Harvest Weather Outlook

As of now, farmers can expect a warmer, drier fall season that should allow them easy access to their fields so they can finish strong. There are currently no indications of an early cold outbreak or heavy enough rain to have a negative impact. With the exception of areas in the Northwest Corn Belt that were affected by drought followed by late thunderstorms, the majority of Midwest farmers should be able to rest easy knowing they won’t have to deal with the wet conditions that make harvest more of a challenge. Although, some may experience isolated, localized challenges down the road.

Total Precipitation Percentiles
June–August 2021 | Ranking Period: 1895–2021
Data Source: 5km Gridded Dataset (nClimGrid)
Mean Temperature Percentiles
June–August 2021 | Ranking Period: 1895–2021
Data Source: 5km Gridded Dataset (nClimGrid)

Preparing For Unexpected Precipitation During Harvest

Of course, unexpected precipitation can always have a negative impact on harvest as we transition from summer thunderstorms to more wintery weather. Thankfully, the current forecast does not point to a wet fall, and some fields are drying out ahead of schedule as many farmers were able to plant a bit earlier than usual this year. As always, pay attention to pop-up storms and your field conditions to best plan for dreary weather.

Rainfall Reports in FieldView
Make more informed decisions every day with weather data at the field level.

Think Locally. Act Quickly.

Reactivity is key, especially during harvest, so be sure to lean on your local weather resources to keep you in the know on shifting conditions. Forecasts can change quickly, but keeping up with local weather reports from your area’s meteorological experts will help you act quickly and solve problems, especially in the Midwest where rainfall is pretty spotty.

Checking Dry Down Levels
FieldView's in-season tools allow you to observe your fields in real time and make informed harvest decisions.

Beyond your local weather resources, FieldView™ offers a variety of weather tools to help you react to conditions in real time and know exactly when to harvest every single acre. Additionally, you can access historical weather data to help you track patterns and make clear decisions by logging into the FieldView web experience at

To hear more from Brad, check out our Harvest Weather Outlook on the Around the Farm Podcast!

On behalf of the whole FieldView team, good luck and happy harvesting!

About the Author

Dr. Brad Colman is the Director of Weather Strategy at Climate LLC. Brad joined Climate six and a half years ago when he first led the development of the early weather capabilities offered through FieldView. His current role is focused on ensuring scientists across Climate and Bayer have access to the environmental information they need to develop agronomic models and maintain the vast global breeding and production pipelines across Bayer Crop Science. After earning his Sc.D. from MIT, Brad started his career with the NOAA and National Weather Service and spent 38 years doing jobs ranging between a weather forecaster in Alaska to a Lab Director in Washington, D.C.