Corn Belt Update Mid-August 2019

guest post by David Archibald

The USDA continues to predict a big corn crop of 13.9 billion bushels at an average yield of 169.5 bushels per acre. AccuWeather’s estimate is 6% lower at 13.07 billion bushels. What happens from here is largely dependent upon when the first killing frost hits. As the Indiana crop progress report released on August 19 notes, “Growers continued to hope for a late killing frost.” They are hoping because there is a lot of doubt whether or not the crop will have matured by then.

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Figure 1: Indiana Corn Crop Condition

As Figure 1 shows, the 2019 crop is the worst for the last five years with only about 35% rate as good or excellent. Note that the 2019 line started in mid-June because of delayed planting due to cold and wet conditions.

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Figure 2: Indiana Corn Crop Progress

Figure 2 shows that crop progress is about two and a half weeks behind the 2014-2018 average. From here the crop won’t be 50% mature until the second week of October.

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Figure 3: Northwest Indiana Average Weekly Growing Degree Days

The growing season is now rapidly running out of time and temperature.

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Figure 4: Calculated GDU deficit to October 15

Atmospheric scientist Eric Snodgrass has provided a map of how that is most likely to play out. For 95 day corn requiring 2280 GDUs to black layer (the abscission layer when the corn kernel reaches maturity), the map in Figure 4 shows the amount of shortfall assuming corn was planted on June 1 and the rest of the season is average.

A large swathe across the top of the Corn Belt is predicted not to make it. What does that remind us of? It reminds us of the Medieval Warm Period to Little Ice Age transition in the Corn Belt as shown in Figure 5 following:

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Figure 5: The northern limit of Indian corn growing

Archeological evidence shows that the northern limit of Indian corn growing was forced up to 300 km south in the transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age. Solar activity has fallen from its 8,000 year peak in the Modern Warm Period from 1933 to 2006 and is now back at levels of the late Little Ice Age. We can expect to repeat the experience of the Indians some 700 years ago.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.

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82 thoughts on “Corn Belt Update Mid-August 2019

    • Up here on the Canadian Prairies, I’ve been turning the furnace on and off all summer; normally it goes off in May and doesn’t go back on until September. And we almost had a frost at the weekend.

      If my experience is anything to go by, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a good year for crops up here.

    • “Solar activity has fallen from its 8,000 year peak in the Modern Warm Period from 1933 to 2006 and is now back at levels of the late Little Ice Age. We can expect to repeat the experience of the Indians some 700 years ago.” – article
      I was running my furnace until several days past Summer Solstice this year. Keeping notes on that, and again when I start in the Autumn. A moderate heat wave in late July to early August was “normal” (whatever that means), and now daily temps are dropping, but rain is the real issue. Mowed the lawn three times this summer instead of weekly because of lack of rain. We really needed rain. My geraniums are tough critters but even they had a rough time this year.
      If there is an early start to Autumn in my AO (NE Illinois), I will make note of it.
      Local weather changes toward winter will depend on when the northwestern and northern air flow start bringing the chillier air to us, but I AM hoping it won’t interfere with the dragonflies or the monarch migration.
      Not to hammer at this issue, but if Autumn sets in early and it is a wet Autumn, instead of dry, it will have an effect on harvesting. Too wet, grain will develop mold. Too dry, danger of fire while running the combine.
      And what kind of effect is the dormant Sun having on large inland water bodies, e.g., the Great Lakes? That does matter to shipping.

        • Yes, they are. I went to the shore of Lake Michigan in April on a very windy day. The surf was incredibly strong. There was some guy close to the breakwater shooting photos of the surf as it broke, so I got him in a couple of shots to show the real size of the waves. They were at least 6 times his height, maybe more. Fierce wind, rough lake.

      • Yeah, we’ve had more wind than usual and less rain. And much of that rain has been in big dumps from thunderstorms rather than small amounts spread across multiple days.

        Definitely not the kind of weather I’m used to here.

      • “Mowed the lawn three times this summer instead of weekly because of lack of rain.”

        Here in Northeastern Ohio, I’ve had a similar experience; I’ve had to mow the grass fewer times this summer compared to past summers because of the lack of rain. Also, when it does rain, the ground is relatively dry and doesn’t soak up the rain as much as it usually does so the rain mostly evaporates making the air more humid than normal. The temperatures have been pretty much at or below normal most of the summer.

        • I live in the state-line area of northern Illinois. We’ve enough rain to mow every 4 or 5 days. The corn and soy fields have grown well. If the frost stays away till late September yields should be fine.

    • In Reno we’ve logged exactly 4 minutes of 100f+ this year at the airport NWS station. Last summer we set a new record for consecutive 100f days. This is going down as an extremely bland, moderate summer. (I would say “cool” summer but we haven’t had any snowflakes since 21 June, unless you count nervous children as snowflakes.)

    • forced up to 300 km south in the transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age. –>

      forced 0 <= 300 km southwards in the transition from the Medieval Warm Period to the Little Ice Age.

    • “up to” in this case can be read as “as much as”. It refers to the amount “300 miles” not the direction.

  1. screw the corn. pool season is essentially over here in sw wi with night temps reaching the low 50s

  2. I would expect that farmers planted a shorter season variety of corn. They knew what they were up against with the looming winter. Or not…just a bunch of hicks and hayseeds. sarc off!

    • It comes down to a question of supply. Not everyone could get the shorter season corn and some made the decision to plant longer season and gamble for the better yield. Others went with soybeans.

      • Didn’t Eric Worrall point out, back when he discussed this issue about the time they were able to start planting, there weren’t enough soybeans, either?

        • Oops. Didn’t Eric Worrall David Archibald point out, back when he discussed this issue about the time they were able to start planting, there weren’t enough soybeans, either?

  3. We came within about 4 degrees C of frost here in the Edmonton area of Alberta in the first part of August, on three or four different nights. Something that’s unusual for this time of year for us. It should be our warmest time of the year. Their worry’s about an early frost are very possible if things don’t change.

  4. Well, not quite in the same boat.

    The previous farmers saw bushels per acre yields in the low double digits – in a good year. They did not have a large reserve stored from good years. They could not import from thousands of miles away to make up shortfalls (we do, albeit at a higher cost – but not at the cost of starvation).

    Most importantly, they did not convert a big chunk of their crop to alcohol. If the Feds were willing to bite the bullet and declare a moratorium on ethanol mandates for the coming year, a very large part of the shortfall would be wiped out overnight.

  5. Now that the Modern Warm Period is winding down it’s all the more important that we ween ourselves from the horrific ethanol mistake and go back to eating our corn instead of burning in our vehicles. How could anyone possibly think that “converting” a carbohydrate to a hydrocarbon purpose would be practical? Converting corn to vehicular transportation fuel is akin to converting electricity to coal….Even the libs now understand the folly.

    • I have a suspicion (which I admittedly cannot prove; it’s just a gut intuition) that the real purpose of the ethanol mandate, other than providing big federal pork-bucks to the farm belt, is to even out the swings in refined gasoline production to hold the price steady, in order to keep the happy motoring proletariat pacified.

      I recently did a back of the envelop calculation to see just how large a volume of ethanol we are producing from corn. The figures for 2018 production would equate to a cube approximately 1250 feet per edge, or a cube the height of the Empire State Building. If the dimensions of the planet were reduced to that of a standard 12-inch desk globe, that cube of ethanol would be only 10 micrometers per edge, about the size of a bacterium on the globe’s surface and invisible to the naked eye. This is insignificant at the planetary scale; but if you were standing next to it, it would look like a pretty flipping big tank of ethanol. You could well imagine the huge amount of corn and the scale of the industry required to produce it.

      Now remember, this is the amount produced per year. It required an entire growing season to get to that cube of ethanol. In order to see how this compares volumetrically, we have to know how much gasoline is being consumed each year. It turns out that the US consumed 3.4 billion gallons of gasoline in 2018. This would result in a cube of gasoline almost exactly half a mile on each edge.

      We are talking about finished gasoline here, so presumably it had already been blended with corn ethanol. But it is interesting to note that the cube of gas has twice the linear size and therefore eight times the volume of the ethanol cube; so at least on a volume basis, the amount of ethanol we produce is very nearly just sufficient to meet the 10% mandate, with a little left over. Given the tightness of US refinery capacity, the sudden removal of 1/8th of the liquid fraction would result in definite supply disruptions. So as strange as it sounds, I think my theory makes sense.

      It is of further interest to note that if you look at the total volume of crude oil produced since the beginning of the modern petroleum industry in the 1850s, all that oil together would make a cube only three and a quarter miles on each edge. Going back to our desk globe, that would be a cube 1/200th of an inch on edge; much smaller than a grain of salt, in fact about the size of a paramecium and perhaps just barely visible to the unaided eye under ideal conditions.

      Think about that. All the drilling, pumping, and fracking going on, day after day and year after year, has resulted in a paramecium worth of oil. This puts in perspective just how rare this stuff really is, and shows that hydrocarbons do not form a major part of the planetary composition in any sense. I am not, therefore, like others here who lump Peak Oil in with Global Warming as just one more example of Leftist doom propaganda. They are not two things of the same kind. Global Warming is nonsense but the prospect of Peak Oil is very real.

      • ” total volume of crude oil produced since the beginning of the modern petroleum industry in the 1850s, all that oil together would make a cube only three and a quarter miles on each edge”

        Are you sure about that 3-1/4 miles? Seems low to me. I did just a quick look, but I see estimates of around 944 billion barrels. And at 0.16 cubic meters per, that’s 151 cubic kilometers, about 36 cubic miles.

        Did I miss something?

        • I think you did miss something: A cube with sides of 3.25 has a volume of 34.328. A cube with a volume of 36 has sides of 3.302.

      • Intelligent “D”, wow there’s a calculation I’ve not seen. Peak oil is typically predicted to occur about 30 years in the future….every 30 years. It never happens because the technology keeps us ahead in the game. But yes, it will peak eventually, but as usual, not in the next 30 years. Check out the latest Exxon play in the south pacific. Not to worry, small scale modular nuclear will be perfected, deployed and widely operational well before the next 30 years….unless oil reserve replacement continues high enough to keep prices so fantastically low! (for now the only urgent issue is ending the insane ethanol, wind, solar stupidity).

    • Where I am in southern Ontario (Canada), most of the corn is grown as animal feed. If the greenies manage to force us onto a vegan diet, that will have to change.

  6. We can expect to repeat the experience of the Indians some 700 years ago.

    Sounds a little corny to me.

    • /”…repeat the experience of the Indians some 700 years ago.”/
      Abandon the Cities and reduce the population to hunter-gatherer levels?

      That is what the champagne-socialists and Pol-Pot proposed.
      With everybody fully engaged with food production, University fields with “science” or “studies” in the name will have to be abandoned. Only A&M’s will be beneficial to society.

      How many Professors do you need hitch in front of each plow?

      • They’re all too stubborn to sink to that level, so consider them more useless than a good Missouri mule.

  7. I’ve read that also the grapes and apples crops are on the edge in some parts of Northern Italy, because of the late start due to a cold spring.

  8. As we lose farmland to global cooling … will that cause Paul Ehrlich’s predictions to finally come true? Will ANY of the doom and gloom leftists EVER be right about ANYTHING they predict?

    • “As we lose farmland to global cooling, (a gloom and doom prediction)”

      Said Alice to the white rabbit.

      Show us the ‘through he looking glass’ graph of global cooling Alice.

    • I tell my “regressive” friends in Key West, who are always going on about the reefs, that they don’t have to worry about the reefs…. in the next coming ice age, they’ll be plowing up the reefs to plant corn to feed all the Canadians coming south!

  9. Did you hear about the Iowan who stayed up all night to see where the sun went?
    It finally dawned on him.

    [Enough bad jokes already. You are spamming the thread. Mod]

  10. on a global basis there is no indication yet of the ‘end of the Modern Warm Period’

    also, the evidence linking ‘fewer sunspots’ with ‘lower temperatures’ while interesting, is not even close to 95% confidence

  11. Not a farmer myself but I have enough relatives in the game (fruit, cattle, wheat, sheep) to know there are good seasons and bad seasons. Good farmers survive a couple of bad years poor farmers do not. Surpluses are stored for the lean years. Has something changed in the seasonal cycles?

    • Average farmer in the US is 1.3 million in debt, this makes it tough for even good farmers to survive a couple of bad years. Survival ends up depending on how patient your creditors are.

      A lot of small farmers were wiped out in the 80’s, with current debt load and costs to do business I think we are going to see another farmer extinction event occur in the US.

  12. Lenji wrote:
    “Will ANY of the doom and gloom leftists EVER be right about ANYTHING they predict?”

    Answer: No! The leftists predicted runaway catastrophic global warming. It is not happening.

    I (we) predicted global cooling, in an article published 1Sept2002 in the Calgary Herald.

    In the last decade or so, I’ve been predicting cooling to start close to 2020.

    • You’ve been predicting cooling for 20 years? You’ve been diametrically wrong for 20 years.

      Will YOU EVER be right about ANYTHING you predict?

      • Loydo

        Clearly you can’t read. Allan said he predicted cooling would start around 2020.

        Conforming to the standards CAGW hysterics like you set yourself, a judgement on climate can only be made over 30 years.

        So how about shutting your trap until 2050.

      • NOAA and NASA are inadvertently agreeing with him. NASA is forecasting a Dalton-level solar minimum starting in 2020, and NOAA is forecasting La Nina conditions from now into 2020. Both conditions are associated with colder temps.

    • Actually Loydo and Final Nail – I’m doing quite well with my predictions, in fact I’m doing infinitely better than the runaway warmist minions at the IPCC.

      My (our) 2002 prediction was for global cooling to commence by ~2020-2030. For the past few years I’ve been saying closer to 2020.

      I am now pondering whether THE LAST TWO YEARS OF SIGNIFICANTLY LATE PLANTING IN THE NORTH AMERICAN GRAIN BELT are an early sign of cooling. Hope not.

      I’ve always said I’d rather be wrong about imminent moderate global cooling. Humanity suffers greatly during cooling periods.

      I’ve posted the following note before – but you [trolls] probably know that.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/04/15/getting-the-publics-attention-on-global-warming-the-final-challenge/comment-page-1/#comment-2792396

      DWR54 aka WD40:

      Our 2002 prediction was for global cooling to commence by ~2020-2030 – that is still looking good.
      NASA called the shift into a PDO cool phase in 2008. It was cold for a few years and then the PDO turned positive again.

      If a global cooling period does materialize as we predicted in 2002, people will be arguing for decades as to when it started, based on the evidence. Some are already saying that cooling started circa 2005.

      http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/products/elnino/decadal/pdo.html
      “The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index value for 2016 (annual mean) was +1.3. Negative values were generally observed from around 2000 to the early 2010s, and positive values have been recorded since 2014.”

  13. It is worth noting that the 13 or so years since the end of the “modern warm period” contain
    the warmest decade on record plus the warmest individual 4 years. Not to mention that July
    2019 was measured to be the warmest month ever according to some records. There is zero
    evidence that the world has cooled or even started to cool since 2006.

    Furthermore growing limits of crops 500 years ago are irrelevant to growing limits today due to
    the significant genetic modifications that farmers have done to crops in terms of yields etc. It might
    not be as impressive as the difference between a turkey from 500 years ago and a modern farmed
    turkey but there is still a huge difference.

    • It is worth noting that the 13 or so years since the end of the “modern warm period” contain the warmest decade on record plus the warmest individual 4 years.

      It’s worthy of note that the Medieval Warm Period are a matter of record.

      Furthermore growing limits of crops 500 years ago are irrelevant to growing limits today due to the significant genetic modifications that farmers have done to crops in terms of yields etc.

      The ‘physical growing limits’ are not the same as ‘crop yields’. There are no genetic modifications which can meaningfully resist frost.

      You are confusing yourself.

    • Izaak
      The recent July had some hot days in west Europe but is not part of any consistent warning trend:

      https://notrickszone.com/2019/08/20/northern-europe-july-temperature-sees-no-warming-over-past-decades-global-july-not-a-record-high/

      Meanwhile western and central Russia – a much larger area – has experienced record cold this year.

      https://notrickszone.com/2019/08/03/media-ignore-vast-summer-cold-across-northern-hemisphere-southern-usa-russia-see-record-lows-in-july/

      NH warming over the last 40 years had followed the up-wave of the AMO. Now the down-wave is beginning. Note also that glaciers tend to grow – not melt – in years with exceptionally hot summers.

      https://www.iceagenow.info/new-glacier-forming-in-california/

      • Yes…the AMO is the thing to watch. Well, the oceans in general are the thing to watch, but the AMO in particular, because the algorithms used to generate fables of ‘warmest ever’ have largely been tuned to take advantage of the impacts of the positive part of the AMO cycle. When the AMO goes negative, their narrative will be fatally undermined.

        It is interesting to note that the Southern Hemisphere Oceans are almost entirely average or cooler than average right now, and the ENSO meter, which has been positive for the last year and for 3.5 of the last 5 years, is forecast to stay neutral into the winter. Is this the gradual response to low solar and increased cosmic rays?

        We shall see, but I would not want to be a person whose livelihood depended on a continued escalation of the climate crisis myth.

  14. So getting this straight: all the hooey about mass starvation is really boiling down to Wisconsin and Michigan needing to grow something different from corn? And maybe the southern limit of corn growing will have to move half a state south to compensate?

    Is this really worthy of the so-called ‘Leader of the Free World’?

    My take home from this post is that corn will grow happily south of Chicago in a Little Ice Age. So in global terms, a minor adaptation to agricultural practice is required.

    Save the big adaptations for a full-scale Ice Age….

  15. It appears to be world wide. In 27 years here in South East Queensland Oz, an area that will only get frosts about 1 year in 6, we have had continual frosts, & the coldest winter I’ve known.

    We have lost native shrubs & young trees indigenous to the area to these frosts.

    This cold is not a local experience.

    • Hasbeen, ditto for Argentina this winter. There are common frosts on my lawn many mornings and the local newspaper says coldest in last 60 years. Ice on palm trees? Something is wrong, unless you are one of those ski bums. What’s the difference between a snowboarder and a vacumn cleaner? The way the dirt-bag is attached!

  16. Izaak Walton August 21, 2019 at 10:39 pm
    Loydo August 21, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    True we are at the end of an El Nino event from which we have some remaining heat.
    Most of land and sea temperature data has been adjusted bent folded and mutilated to be of any use.
    Thus the only reliable way of measurement is crop loss due to late or early frosts snow storms hail.

    Oh and if you have a source for cooling to start 13 or 20 years ago please enlighten me. The earliest I have seen was 2020. Of course there was the 1970s scare.
    Anyway everyone can believe as they wish.
    But it must be noted that you have come to this thread to speak your mind. It will not help, if we are at the point that the planet will enter a cooling phase there is nothing you can do or say to stop it. Also such an event will dispel any credibility of the theory of Man made global warming. This is personal for you.
    Hopefully the cold will come late this Autumn.

    • mike the morlock

      Oh and if you have a source for cooling to start 13 or 20 years ago please enlighten me. The earliest I have seen was 2020.

      David Archibald, the author of the head article, has been forecasting global cooling starting since at least 2006:-

      “Based on solar maxima of approximately 50 for solar cycles 24 and 25, a global temperature decline of 1.5°C is predicted to 2020, equating to the experience of the Dalton Minimum. ”

      David C. Archibald, Solar Cycles 24 and 25 and Predicted Climate Response, Published January 1, 2006

      https://doi.org/10.1260/095830506776318796

    • Mike,
      David claims in the article above that the modern warm period ended in 2006. This is just plain
      nonsense. One bad summer in the mid-west does not constitute global cooling, any more than a
      heat wave in France at the same time constitutes global warming. Can you provide any evidence
      to suggest that the world is currently cooling?

        • Beng,
          Where is the evidence to show that the Norther Hemisphere is cooling? The
          latest anomaly (July 2019) from UAH satellite measurements has a value of +0.33
          which is essentially where it has been for most of the previous year (it was +0.33 in June 2018).
          The long term trend for the the Northern Hemisphere from the UAH satellite measurements is
          0.15 degrees per decade which if anything is higher than the global trend of 0.13 degrees/decade.

      • Izaak Walton August 22, 2019 at 2:24 am
        Izaak It is not just one but rather the last four. The European wine industry has been hit hard.
        Also as for providing evidence why bother, your mind is closed The simple fact the you state that one bad summer does not constitute global, shows you do not understand what is going on. It was large amounts of snow, late frosts followed by large amounts of rain. A further correction of your description of events, it was not just the mid-west it was continent wide, actually world wide. If you had been checking you would know that Russia has been experiencing unusual cold this summer.

        michael

    • …land and sea temperature data has been adjusted bent folded and mutilated to be of any use…”

      You left out spindled, stapled…!

  17. I find it difficult to square the forecast apocalyptic scenario presented by Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion in an interview on the BBC HARDtalk programme, where stated that there would be six billion deaths by 2050 due to mass starvation caused by global warming.
    Yet there seems to be more risk to global food production from global cooling than global warming.
    I do wonder where he gets his ideas from, as anyone who has experience of agriculture knows that farmers can adapt their cropping to the prevailing weather conditions.

  18. Has anyone asked Saint Greta? With the certainty of ignorance she seems to know everything, with even the Pope beating a path to her door.

  19. Just a personal observation. There is no polar vortex. Polar air is now mixing with the mid-latitude jet stream to the south, resulting in cooler weather. I believe this will persist until solar activity returns.

  20. “Accuweather” makes its money off clickbait, ads, and predicting the worst possible weather outcome on a daily basis, so I am not surprised their prediction is worse.

    That being said, I have tried for the last few years to plant corn in my home garden with only limited success. Mad props to corn farmers, that is not an easy crop to grow. I feel wildly successful every time I get 10 good ears!

    • Corn is a nitrogen hog. After all the heavy rain from 0ct through feb, the nutrients have been lost.
      Must heavy compost and till regularly. Add nitrogen in final till before planting, and then again 6 weeks in. good luck.

    • Corn is a species of grass, just like wheat and oats. If the roots are crowded by dense soil, it won’t grow properly.

      Try taking whatever organic plant stuff you have, including lawn clippings and plow that into the soil this fall. Include fallen leaves that normally get bagged up and hauled away. And plow the corn stalks and plant debris from summer back into the soil this fall.

      That returns nutrients to the soil and loosens it up so that the roots can grow more easily.

  21. Ja. Ja.

    I told you. The hunger years are coming. In fact, I just came from Holland where it is already very dry. You can all forget about it that it is all due to ‘man made’ climate change [although that it what the authorities will want you to believe]. It is due to the Gleisberg cycle. It happens every 87 years. You can set the clock on it. Remember the Dust Bowl drought from 1932 -1939? It was a disaster. 87 years earlier there was the drought of 1845-1856 that wiped out a lot of bison. Click on my name to read more about it.
    Note this old report that was written long before they started with the CO2 nonsense.
    http://cyclesresearchinstitute.org/pdf/cycles-astronomy/arnold_theory_order.pdf

    Look at page 9 where Arnold predicts the lowest level of the Nile for 1990. I did some re-calculations and I came to 1995. That means that from this date, the level of the river Nile started rising again. Obviously with more rain falling in the -30 to 30 range of latitudes, less rain will be available for the higher latitudes.

    Hence, the observations of Sara [earlier up in the comments] do not surprise me….

    The hunger years are here.

  22. Well, in my little part of the world (North central Texas), after a mild and damp spring, summer has set in with a vengeance. Have not had a measurable rain since early June, and for the past month daily highs have been in triple digits more often than not. Tanks (stock ponds) are drying up, and even well established trees are showing signs of distress. I have lost several younger fruit trees. Not unusual for a Texas summer, but looking forward to that next cooling rain which is still over the horizon far as I can see.

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