Damaging Midwest Freezes the last 50 years
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Started by metmike - Aug. 7, 2019, 5:33 p.m.

Been doing a bit of homework on the historical data for early damaging freezes in the Midwest.

That one was very  similar to the 1974 freezes but 2 weeks later, so not as much damage.

So we have 3 big freezes in the last 45 years.

Early Sept 1974 must have been great damage to both corn and beans

Sept 15, 2011 mainly beans

Sept 23-25 1995 did damage, mainly beans only because of the late planting in IL/IN.

Thats 3 times in 45 years, the last 2  mainly to the beans, and the last one only because we  planted in IL/IN well into June........not unlike this year. 

Here's a good article on the 2011 freeze from Accuweather.



        400x266_09152000_picture 5            


This map shows low temperatures as of 7:00 a.m. CDT, Thursday morning Sept. 15, 2011, over the upper Midwest.

By metmike - Aug. 7, 2019, 5:37 p.m.
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Note that the first freeze in the Upper Midwest averages the last week in September. With a warm August, this will not do alot of damage. 

The first freeze dates in the Eastern Cornbelt are 10+ days later. Early October in the colder spots, mid October in much of the rest of those locations.  This will not do alot of damage with a warm August.

If we have freeze dates more than 2 weeks early, then it will do some damage. 



Median Dates for the First 32ºF Freezes

By metmike - Aug. 7, 2019, 5:42 p.m.
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Here are the earliest freeze dates since 1980............so this data did not include an earlier one in 1974.

A very rare freeze has happened before along the Canadian border as early as late August. This would be mainly Hard Red Spring wheat country. The HRS crop was actually planted on time this year.

If this map included 1974 in  some places in the Upper Midwest, it would have the dark/navy  blue shade for early Sept. instead of the medium blue, which is Sept 11-20. 

Very rare first freezes have happened in the Eastern cornbelt in the coldest places in mid Sept with most spots having late Sept. The 1995 Sept HARD freezes that went down to the Ohio River were actually Sept. 23/24. That would hurt the beans for sure this year and possibly the corn if its cool between now and then.

Again, these are rare events, maybe once every 15 years to get that cold so early.

By metmike - Aug. 7, 2019, 5:49 p.m.
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Dates for 28°F Freezes


Median Dates for the First 28ºF Freezes


Fig. 7. Climatological Date of the Median First 28°F freeze for the United States.


Fig. 8. Climatological Date of Median First 28°F freeze for the region.


Earliest Dates for the First 28ºF Freezes

Below are images depicting the earliest and the latest dates for the first 28°F freezes across the U.S. and in our region. 


Fig. 9. Climatological Date of the Earliest First 28°F freeze for the United States


Fig. 10. Climatological Date of the Earliest First 28°F freeze for the r

By mcfarm - Aug. 7, 2019, 6:32 p.m.
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mm, did the 6 to 10 day just go hot and drier ? Yes 1974 we had 40/40/40 corn......nasty wet, no test weight, no yield. Scooped that crap out of grain truck that had a broken hoist.......seems like yesterday

By wglassfo - Aug. 7, 2019, 7:20 p.m.
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I think I read some where it takes on average 50 days from tassel to black layer

Around here we still have corn with no tassels

Some of this is corn in wet spots which probably would not yield much any way

But we do have some whole fields not in tassel

I have also noticed a lot of corn which is/was very uneven to tassel

Not so much in the row but where water slowed development

I am also seeing fields that just look very uneven, even though they are in tassel

It always amazes me that a 4' plant will tassel

Given the general uneven crop I am not expecting a big yield, on average "here"

If a corn plant is stunted in any way, then yield is lost. More so on wet, compacted soil than heat stress. The plant is bred for heat stress but wet soil, not so much, if any. Plant breeders assume the farmer can control the planting in dry soil, bur not the weather or heat stress. So they breed for heat stress.

As a rule of thumb, June planted corn has a shallow kernel

No idea why, unless it is the genetics, as something has to give in order to mature in less days, when planted out side it's adapted zone

However, northern corn has a longer day, light and longer heat period some days, but not always, compared to "here"

That is why a variety taken out of the adapted zone will not perform as well as full season varieties, due mostly to genetics adapted for a zone

So around "here"

Any corn not showing tassel needs until Nov, or almost,. to black layer

That includes water damage, late planted you name it

The June planted will surprise me if it is a normal yield

That leaves a very small portion that will yield to full potential

We have been getting spotty rains

I think a larger than normal area in the USA is also in the spotty rain fall kind of weather, with some high yielding soil in Ind, Ill and Ohio getting hit with spotty rain.

And just to keep it interesting, the northern corn has too much water. Some place it must be just right for good yields.

I think Mich. is in about the same kind of yield potential as we are

All things considered, I an very certain we do not end up with a very large carry over going into end of 2020, before new crop is harvested

Just watching USDA and there programs etc, some thing tells me they already know this corn crop will be much less than expected

How much do we grow is any bodies guess but less it will be

I have aan idea a frost is the least of our worries except for corn that is not in tassel

I expect there are a number of acres scattered through out the corn belt, still with out a tassel

Will frost wait until Nov for those acres???

By metmike - Aug. 7, 2019, 7:52 p.m.
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Thanks wayne and mcfarm,

Yes, the 8-14 day went hot and dry finally.

"Wednesday Morning: Wednesday: NWS should be warming the East up much more...........cooler West. Big rains now mainly in the early parts of the 6-10 day, possibly drying up in the 8-14 day."