Corn harvest lagging as crop speeds to maturity

by Laura Lloyd
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WASHINGTON — The 2013 corn harvest remained well behind the five-year average in the week ended Sept. 29, while the maturity of the crop, though still behind average, moved decisively forward.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in its Crop Progress report released Sept. 30, said 12% of the crop was harvested in the latest week, up modestly from 7% a week earlier but down from a 23% five-year average and behind 52% last year, when the harvest was early.

The U.S.D.A. said 63% of the crop was mature in the latest week, behind the 70% five-year average but up from 40% mature the previous week.

The corn crop experienced planting delays this spring from an excess of cool, wet weather, in stark contrast to 2012, when the midsection of the U.S. experienced what was sometimes called a 50-year drought.

The crop was rated 55% good to excellent, unchanged from a week earlier (but far better than 25% a year ago), with 29% fair and 16% very poor to poor.

The soybean crop made significant progress in dropping leaves but remained moderately behind the five-year average for the date. The U.S.D.A. said 67% of the crop had dropped leaves as of Sept. 29, compared to a 74% five-year average. In the week ended Sept. 22, 47% of the crop had dropped leaves.

Like the corn crop, the 2013 soybean crop experienced planting delays because of wet weather. A total of 11% of the crop was harvested as of Sept. 29, down from a 20% five-year average but up from 3% the previous week.

The crop’s condition improved modestly in the latest week. The U.S.D.A. said 53% of the crop in the 18 major states was in good-to-excellent condition, up from 50% the previous week, while 15% was in very poor to poor condition, down from 17% the previous week.

A total of 39% of the new winter wheat crop in the 18 major states was planted in the latest week, only one percentage point behind the five-year average. A total of 12% of the new crop has emerged as of Sept. 29, compared with 15% as the five-year average.

The spring wheat harvest in the six major states was almost completed in the week of Sept. 29, the U.S.D.A. said, with 95% combined, only a percentage point behind the five-year average.

A total of 12% of the 2013 peanut crop was harvested as of Sept. 29, down from a 17% five-year average. The crop condition was about the same as the previous week, the U.S.D.A. said, with 59% of the crop rated good to excellent.
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