September Climate Outlook

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS, S.D. – The month of September is more likely to be wetter than average in South Dakota, according to the updated National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Aug. 31, 2015 climate outlook.

“This revision to the forecast for September is a bit of a change from what we saw a couple of weeks ago,” explained Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist.

The most recent outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center predicts that all of South Dakota will likely be wetter than average for the month. “In the previous outlook for September, most of our state was shown to have equal chances of wetter, drier, or near average rainfall,” she said.

Edwards added that cooler than average conditions are more possible in the western half of the state, another change from the previous September 2015 climate outlook.

“Cooler and wetter conditions for the fall are somewhat expected because they are often associated with El Nino conditions,” said Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist & SDSU Extension Climate Specialist.

The previous climate outlook, Todey explained, indicated that cooler and wetter was more likely in October and November and less likely in September.

“The updates are a result of new computer model forecasts that are now available for the first couple of weeks in September,” said Todey.

Todey added that while there are no imminent concerns with a wetter and cooler month ahead, the outlooks do increase the chance of some potential issues.

“Recent wetter conditions have eliminated most dryness across the state,” Todey said.

In east central South Dakota, moisture levels have reached a point of excess, with soils wet from the recent heavy rains.

Two stations in eastern South Dakota, Clear Lake (8.60-inches) and Bryant (7.24-inches), set all-time August precipitation records. Another 30 stations across the state ranked in the top 10 wettest Augusts.

Edwards said that additional wet conditions this fall could increase soil moisture and wet grain issues during fall harvest, which could slow down harvest progress. “Cooler conditions could compound concerns by slowing in-field drying,” she said.

The wet conditions could also lead to mold issues in grain, which livestock producers need to be aware of when feeding the 2015 crop to livestock. “Whenever there is excess moisture during harvest, mold issues can arise in grain which can cause issues if the grain is meant for livestock consumption,” Edwards explained.

At this point, Todey said most crop development is close to average. “Near average temperatures throughout the summer have kept row crops on a good development pace,” he said.

Todey added that warm temperatures, as we enter September, will help with crop maturity and make up for the bit of cool weather during the last week of August.

“Delayed crop development is not much of a concern,” he said.

To learn more, visit