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Serving: United States
Harvesting corn - aerial view. Combine and grain cart NolanBerg11/ThinkstockPhotos

USDA crop progress: Corn harvest kicks off

Crop quality for corn and soybeans trend even lower for the week ending September 13.

With cooler weather and Labor Day now in the rearview mirror, harvest season is rapidly approaching. In fact, corn harvest has kicked off in earnest, with USDA now reporting measurable progress for 12 of the top 18 production states in its latest weekly crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through September 13.

Nationwide, harvest is at 5% completion, in line with trade estimates as well as the prior five-year average. Southern states Texas (67%) and North Carolina (47%) are leading the way for now. Nearly all (89%) of this year’s crop has reached dented stage, up from 79% last week and ahead of the prior five-year average of 82%. USDA considers 41% of the crop fully mature, also up from the prior five-year average of 32%.

Crop conditions continue to worsen, meantime, as USDA docked crop quality another point, with 60% now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts expected the agency to hold ratings steady. Another 25% is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 15% rated poor or very poor (up a point from last week).

Soybean quality ratings also fell last week, eroding another two points to 63% rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts were expecting ratings to stabilize after falling multiple weeks in August and early September. Another 26% is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 11% rated poor or very poor (also up a point from last week).

Physiologically, 37% of the crop is now dropping leaves, up from 20% last week and ahead of the prior five-year average of 31%. Missouri (6%) is the noticeable outlier this year.

The spring wheat harvest nears completion, at 92% through Sunday. That’s up from last week’s progress of 82%, and this year’s pace mirrors the prior five-year average. Most of the six top production states are close to the nationwide average, with South Dakota (98%) the farthest along at this point.

And winter wheat planting is also underway, with 10% of the crop now in the ground. That doubles last week’s pace of 5% and is slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 8%.

Click here for updates on additional crops, including cotton, barley, pasture and range conditions, and more.

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