Your 2022 Harvest Season Forecast

Read Time: 3 minutes
September 30, 2022
Dr. Zach Hansen
Weather Science Team Manager at Climate

What Do Corn Belt Farming & Tropical Thunderstorms Have in Common?

Well, me! My name is Zach Hansen, and I’m honored to be taking over for Dr. Brad Colman as he enters must-deserved retirement. My background is in the study of mesoscale meteorology and tropical thunderstorms — especially the lifecycle of a thunderstorm and what controls its strength. As the Weather Science Team Manager at Climate, my team and I are excited to talk about what farmers and dealers can expect as we move further into harvest season across the Midwest.

 
 

How a Summer of Extreme Rain Events Will Affect This Year’s Harvest

It has been the summer of ‘1000-year’ rain events across the United States. Eastern Kentucky, Missouri, Texas and even Death Valley in California, all experienced extreme and damaging precipitation. But luckily, these events should have less effect on harvest than one might expect.

In fact, as of now, this fall season should be both warmer and drier than average. This should allow farmers 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. 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.

 
 
Total Precipitation Percentiles
June–August 2022 | Ranking Period: 1895–2022
 
Data Source: NOAA Climate.gov, Data: CPC
Mean Temperature Percentiles
June–August 2022 | Ranking Period: 1895–2022
 
Data Source: NOAA Climate.gov, Data: CPC

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 close attention to your local weather and be prepared to adjust quickly if you happen to have any pop-up storms in your area.

Interpreting a Weather Forecast

A classic problem of meteorology is the different ways the probability of precipitation can be interpreted. For example, if the forecast states a 20% chance of rain, that can have vastly different interpretations. It could be viewed as a 20% chance of rain today. Or that it might rain today, but for only 20% of the day, or in 20% of the area. It could even mean the rain is only 20% of a downpour, or just a drizzle.

 
FieldView has several features that can help you keep an eye on the sky and monitor precipitation in your fields.

And the real issue is that different forecast companies and apps also have different meanings. Our weather team at Climate prefers the most simple, straightforward interpretation: When we give a precipitation forecast, we’re predicting the likelihood of at least a 1/10 of an inch of rainfall in 24 hours. So, a 20% chance of rain simply means the odds of it raining any amount throughout the course of 24 hours is about 20%.

When we give a precipitation forecast, a 20% chance of rain simply means the odds of it raining any amount throughout the course of 24 hours is about 20%.
Is Your Weather Station in the Proper Site?

It’s hard to find the perfect site for your weather station. If it’s near a barn or building, those structures may be blocking the wind or sun, giving different readings than what the field is actually experiencing. It's not uncommon to have conditions differ between your weather station and a nearby field, even if they're relatively close together.

The easiest and most important thing you can do is to recognize and account for those differences when reading your weather station’s data.

A Final Word

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.

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 climate.com.

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


About the Author

Dr. Zach Hansen is the Weather Science Team Manager at Climate. He has spent nearly three years at Climate, in a variety of roles all centered on weather. In his current role, he and his team work to ensure that weather data is used effectively in predictive models that help growers make a variety of decisions. Zach received his undergraduate degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Utah, and his PhD in Atmospheric Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining Climate, Zach worked as a research scientist at Nanjing University in China, where he examined the life cycles and characteristics of thunderstorms on a variety of scales.