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Across the Corn Belt, rain lingers across the middle Ohio Valley and the lower Great Lakes region. Elsewhere, cool, blustery weather prevails in the wake of a cold front’s passage. The U.S. corn crop was 73% fully mature on October 13, the slowest pace in the last one-quarter century (previously, 77% mature in 2009). Similarly, 85% of the U.S. soybeans were dropping leaves on October 13, compared to the former modern-era record of 89% in 1996.

On the Plains, dry weather is promoting fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and summer crop harvesting. In some northern production areas, however, lingering wetness is impeding fieldwork operations. On October 13, six percent of the U.S. spring wheat crop remained in the field. On the same date, the sugarbeet harvest was just 30% complete, compared to the 5-year average of 60%. Similarly, the sunflower harvest was 5% complete, versus 13% on average.

In the South, rain is slowing fieldwork but benefiting pastures and fall-sown crops, including winter wheat. Currently, some of the heaviest rain is falling in the southern Mid-Atlantic region and from south-central Texas to the central Gulf Coast. On October 13, prior to the rain, pastures were rated at least one-half very poor to poor in Virginia (75%), Kentucky (68%), Georgia (63%), Tennessee (62%), Alabama (59%), South Carolina (59%), and North Carolina (57%).

In the West, cool, showery weather is confined to the Pacific Northwest. Elsewhere, Western warmth favors fieldwork, including the cotton harvest, which on October 13 was 22% complete in Arizona and 15% complete in California.

For the remainder of Wednesday and into Thursday, significant rain and increasingly windy conditions will affect the Northeast. Meanwhile, rain will end later Wednesday across the South, but a disturbance over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is forecast to drift northeastward and could provide additional Southeastern drought relief by week’s end. Farther west, widespread precipitation—including high-elevation snow—will precede and accompany a surge of cold air into the Northwest. Five-day precipitation totals could reach 4 to 10 inches or more in parts of the Pacific Northwest. In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail during the next 5 days from central and southern California to the central and southern High Plains.

Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for below-normal temperatures from Rockies to the Plains and western Corn Belt, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in the East and Far West. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation from Oregon and California to the southern High Plains should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions across northern sections of the Rockies and Plains, as well as the eastern one-half of the U.S.

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Greg Soulje, a professional meteorologist since 1985, offers national agricultural weather forecasts via "This Week in Agribusiness."