Cold Weather Comes Early
As the thermometer drops into the 30s in some areas of the country over the last week, for farmers and ranchers, nothing really stops. Livestock still has to be fed. Ice still may need to be broken from water troughs so animals can drink and other farm chores still have to be done. Down on the farm, though, cold weather is just another thing for which to plan. USDA meteorologist Brad Rippy says the nation's first freeze is coming a little early this year, but not by too much.
We're also running up against our normal first freeze dates, which in a lot of the Dakotas is really the last few days of September or the first couple of days of October. So by the time we get a week from now, we're looking at what would be a normal first freeze. So it's not that unusual to see these cold air masses start to build their way down from western Canada and Alaska this time of year. And the northwest, it'll be cold enough that we may see some impacts on winter wheat emergence and establishment, certainly, and be cold enough to slow down the early growth of winter grains that have already been planted. And as you move across the northern tier, again, it doesn't look like we'll see any frost yet in the upper Mississippi Valley or the Great Lakes region. But something we'll watch carefully.
And as it turns out, colder temperatures are not the end of the world for farmers. But the cold can be destructive for some crops. Again, it's just another thing for which farmers usually have to plan on.