Corn, soybean harvests behind average pace

by Matt Noltemeyer
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Corn and soybeans
Fall harvest was proceeding at a slower-than-average pace for U.S. corn and soybean producers.
 

KANSAS CITY — Fall harvest was proceeding at a slower-than-average pace for U.S. corn and soybean producers as of the week ended Oct. 1.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture indicated the corn harvest in the 18 states that typically harvest 94% of corn acreage was 17% completed as of Oct. 1, which compared with 11% a week earlier, 23% a year ago and 26% as the recent five-year average for the date.

Iowa and Illinois are the largest corn producing states and typically account for about one-third of the U.S. crop. The corn harvest in Iowa was about 6% completed compared with 18% as the average for the date. The U.S.D.A.’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reported rainfall last week slowed harvest in Iowa. Wet field conditions in parts of the state allowed 5.1 days suitable for fieldwork.

Illinois corn harvest — 21% competed as of Oct. 1 compared with 38% as the average for the date — had the biggest deviation from average among the 18 corn states.

Recent damp field conditions allowed only 3.6 days suitable for Minnesota fieldwork in the week ended Oct. 1. Corn harvest there is 2% completed compared with 1% the previous week, 7% a year ago and 15% as the five-year average.

Other corn-producing states were off the average as well: Indiana was 16% completed (23% as the five-year average), 12% in Nebraska (20%), 3% in South Dakota (19%) and 8% in Ohio (12%).

Corn maturity was lagging the five-year average in many states, including Minnesota, 18 percentage points off the average, Illinois, 16 points off, Michigan 8 points off, and Iowa, 7 points off. Aggregate maturity in the 18 states was 68% compared with 84% a year ago and 78% for the five-year average.

In Indiana, corn maturity averaged about 70% and was tracking below both 2016 and the five-year-average, according to NASS. The service also noted effects of southern rust discovered during harvest in Indiana corn acres where fungicides weren’t used.

Corn producers in neighboring Kentucky saw the most progress at 56% completion, up 20 percentage points from a week earlier.

Meanwhile, the soybean harvest in the 18 states that typically harvest 95% of U.S. soybean acreage was 22% completed as of Oct. 1 compared with 10% a week earlier, 24% a year ago and 26% as the average for the date over the past five years.

Minnesota and North Dakota saw the biggest gaps between harvest as of Oct. 1 and the recent five-year average for the date. Minnesota soybean harvest was 13% completed compared with 40% as the average, and North Dakota harvest was 18% completed compared with 43%.

Lofty temperatures and rains ranging from infrequent to absent helped dry down Ohio fields and open them to soybean harvest, but lowered the moisture content of harvested soybeans to 12%. Some growers hit pause on harvest until rain could return some moisture to the crop, while others proceeded with caution to reduce shattering and splits. Multiple combine fires were reported amid the very dry conditions. But Ohio soybean harvest progress was at 24%, four percentage points over the state’s five-year average. 
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