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Crop progress: Corn harvest officially underway

USDA releases its first corn harvest updates for the 2023 season

Ben Potter, Senior editor

September 12, 2023

2 Min Read
The USDA says 5 percent of the 2023 harvest is complete.

Throughout the 2023 production season, USDA has offered weekly updates on various corn milestones, including planting, silking, dough stage and more. In its latest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through September 10, the agency finally has some harvest data in the books. This report also included updates on corn and soybean quality ratings, winter wheat planting progress and more.

Corn harvest among the top 18 production states is now 5% complete through Sunday, mirroring analyst expectations. That’s also equal to 2022’s pace and slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 4%.

Quality ratings shifted slightly lower, matching trade expectations after moving from 53% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition a week ago down to 52% through September 10. Another 30% of the crop is rated fair (up one point from last week), with the remaining 18% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from last week).

Soybean crop quality also slid a point lower, with 52% rated in good-to-excellent condition through Sunday. Analysts were expecting to see a two-point drop, in contrast. Another 30% was rated fair (steady from last week), with the remaining 18% rated poor or very poor (up one point from last week).

Physiologically, 31% of the crop is still dropping leaves. That’s up from 16% a week ago. It’s also noticeably faster than 2022’s pace of 20% and the prior five-year average of 25%.

The 2023 spring wheat harvest continues to march steadily towards completion, moving from 74% a week ago up to 87% through Sunday. That’s a bit ahead of 2022’s pace of 83% and identical to the prior five-year average.

The 2023 barley harvest is also nearly complete after moving from 80% in the prior week up to 89% through September 10. That has this year’s pace matching 2022’s pace and puts it slightly behind the prior five-year average of 90%.

Meantime, winter wheat plantings take another tentative step forward, with 7% among the top 18 production states now complete through September 10, versus 1% in the prior week. That’s a bit behind 2022’s pace of 9% but identical to the prior five-year average.

Click here for more from the latest UDSA crop progress report, including a state-by-state look at pasture and rangeland conditions.

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades of professional agricultural communications and journalism experience to Farm Futures. He began working in the industry in the highly specific world of southern row crop production. Since that time, he has expanded his knowledge to cover a broad range of topics relevant to agriculture, including agronomy, machinery, technology, business, marketing, politics and weather. He has won several writing awards from the American Agricultural Editors Association, most recently on two features about drones and farmers who operate distilleries as a side business. Ben is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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