Corn production is a topic on everyone’s mind these days, and the big question is: when will the first freeze put an end to the 2019 growing season? The map below shows the first freeze possible in the Upper Midwest on September 29, which is later than the 30-year average of early- to mid-September for this region.

If the first freeze does indeed move into early October for the upper Midwest, there is hope that we can realize a larger 2019 corn harvest than anyone might have imagined just a few short months ago.

US map showing the corn belt with average date ranges for the first fall freeze


What does this mean for corn production?

The first freeze question is critical, because we lose crop production for every day the first freeze is delayed. Especially in a late planting year, the season’s corn production can hinge on this first freeze question. And for 2019, these first freeze dates will make more difference than in the past, with late-planted fields losing up to 6.4 bu/ac yield per day at this point in the season.

As shown below and discussed in a Main Street Data blog post last month, the next few weeks are crucial to the entire season’s production. When just one day of yield loss can result in a 6.4-bushel loss per acre, every warm day matters.

Corn production can take a hit with every lost growing day due to an early frost

Mother Nature is cooperating with corn production, for now

The current forecast is encouraging, in this year of late planting. As warm temps continue across the Corn Belt into late September, we can hope for a rebound to this year’s corn production and a redemption for the season in this historic flood year of 2019.


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