KANSAS CITY — The pace of the corn harvest remains well behind normal in the Midwestern states, where the bulk of the crop is grown. The soybean crop harvest’s progress was near average.
In the 18 major producing states, corn was 84% harvested by Nov. 24, advancing from 76% a week earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in its latest Crop Progress report. That was noticeably behind 93% a year earlier and 96% as the five-year average for the date.
The lengthy harvest has roots in a late planting season. Producers’ fields in many cases took longer than usual to dry out after a snowy winter created intense spring runoff that caused many rivers and tributaries to overflow their banks.
Late planting meant late maturation of the crop. Then, more rain came. Inclement weather brought six times the normal September rainfall to North Dakota and parts of surrounding states. A wet fall allowed the harvest to proceed only in fits and starts when adjacent sunny days allowed fields to dry sufficiently to bring in heavy machinery.
Furthest behind was North Dakota, where a mere 30% of the corn crop was combined by Nov. 24 compared with 79% a year earlier and 91% as the 2014-18 average for the date.
In the Corn Belt, harvest completion by Nov. 24 was 86% in Iowa (compared with 95% a year ago and 97% as the average for the date), 88% in Illinois (100%, 99%), 89% in Indiana (95%, 95%), 83% in Ohio (85%, 91%), 56% in Michigan (81%, 83%), 57% in Wisconsin (87%, 85%) and 86% in Minnesota (96%, 97%). The harvest was 68% completed in South Dakota (89% a year ago and 96% as the average), 93% in Nebraska (93%, 96%), 97% in Kansas (94%, 98%) and 96% in Colorado (96%, 94%).
Rainy conditions and snow melt after a fall storm in late October in Iowa limited fieldwork, according to the U.S.D.A.’s Upper Midwest Regional Field Office in Des Moines. Corn has come off the field in many cases with higher-than-desired moisture content, and the availability of propane used to subsequently dry the crop has become problematic. Moisture content of Iowa field corn being harvested for grain averaged 19%, the U.S.D.A. said.
Despite some rain and snow delays, the 2019 soybean crop harvest was proceeding at a more typical clip, the U.S.D.A. said in the Crop Progress report, which pegged completion in the 18 principal production states at 94% by Nov. 24, the same as a year earlier and slightly behind 97% as the 2014-18 average for the date.
In the key states, the soybean harvest was 89% completed in North Dakota (99% as the recent five-year average), 98% in Minnesota (100%), 99% in South Dakota (100%), 97% in Iowa (99%), 95% in Illinois (100%), 94% in Indiana (97%) and 93% in Ohio (97%). The soybean harvest was completed in Nebraska.