According to the latest USDA crop progress report, out a day late due to Monday’s federal holiday recognizing Columbus Day, corn harvest reached another milestone after a third of the crop has been harvested as of October 7, despite recent rain delays in many Midwestern fields. Soybean progress also marches ahead, with 32% of the crop now harvested.
Corn harvest continues to come in moderately faster than recent years, with 34% of the crop harvested as of October 7. That’s up from 26% the prior week and noticeably ahead of 2017’s pace of 21% and the five-year average of 26%. Of the top 18 production states, seven have crossed the halfway mark, including Illinois (63%), Kansas (59%), Kentucky (71%), Missouri (76%), North Carolina (88%), Tennessee (79%) and Texas (72%).
USDA indicated 93% of the crop has reached full maturity last week, up from 86% the prior week and also moderately ahead of both 2017’s pace of 80% and the five-year average of 83%.
Crop quality slipped a point, with 68% now rated in good-to-excellent condition, versus 69% the week prior. Another 20% of the crop is rated fair (up from 19% a week ago), with the remaining 12% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago).
“The weather conditions farmers told us in Feedback from the Field this fall really showed up in today’s Crop Progress reports,” says Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “A big drop in Iowa corn ratings translates to a 5.5 bushel per acre decrease in yields, which is large for this time of the growing season. Yield potential across the northern Midwest also faltered, hit by heavy rains. On average, yield potential dropped a bushel per acre nationwide.”
Even so, USDA’s yield data updates in Thursday’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report only cover conditions as of October 1, so this week’s losses may not show up in the upcoming report, Knorr says.
U.S. soybean harvest also made some progress last week, reaching 32% complete as of October 7, versus 23% from the prior week. The pace is slightly behind 2017’s rate of 34% and the five-year average of 36% at this point in the season. Illinois (51%), Louisiana (79%) and Mississippi (61%) are the only top production states to cross the halfway point at this time.
Unharvested soybeans appear to be slightly ahead of schedule, with 91% of the crop dropping leaves. That compares favorably to 2017’s pace of 88% and a five-year average of 85%.
Soybean crop condition held firm last week, with 68% of the crop rated good-to-excellent. Another 22% of the crop is rated fair, with the remaining 10% rated poor or very poor.
“Soybean ratings in northern states faltered last week, but overall yield potential was little changed,” Knorr says.
Winter wheat planting passed the halfway mark, with 57% of the 2018/19 U.S. crop in the ground as of October 7. That’s up from 43% the prior week, and ahead of both 2017’s pace of 46% and the five-year average of 54%. And 30% of the crop is emerged, up from 14% a week ago, 23% a year ago and the five-year average of 28%.