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USDA crop progress: Corn harvest slower than expected 0USDA crop progress: Corn harvest slower than expected

Corn quality improves slightly, with soybeans holding mostly steady.

Ben Potter

September 21, 2020

2 Min Read

Pair generally dry weather last week with a quickly maturing corn crop, and analysts expected harvest to reach 11% completion this past week. But USDA reports that just 8% of the crop nationwide has been harvested through September 20 in its latest weekly crop progress report, out Monday afternoon.

The heart of the Corn Belt has yet to make major headway, including states such as Illinois (4%), Indiana (5%) and Iowa (4%). Further south, other states have made significant progress, with Texas (69%) and North Carolina (63%) over the halfway mark.

USDA reports 59% of the crop is fully mature, up from 41% last week and moderately ahead of the prior five-year average of 49%. Nearly all (95%) of the crop is now dented at this time – also ahead of the prior five-year average of 90%.

Quality-wise, analysts expected USDA to knock an additional point off ratings this past week. In contrast, USDA says 61% of the crop is now rated in good-to-excellent condition, up a point from last week. Another 25% is rated fair (unchanged from a week ago), with the remaining 14% rated poor or very poor (down a point from a week ago).

USDA’s soybean quality ratings also defied analyst expectations, holding steady at 63% rated in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts generally thought the agency would shave another point off that top tier. Another 27% of the crop is rated fair (up a point from last week), with the remaining 10% rated poor or very poor (down a point from last week).

Related:USDA crop progress: Corn harvest kicks off

More than half (59%) of the crop is now dropping leaves, up from 37% last week and ahead of the prior five-year average of 50%. Measurable harvest has begun in 17 of the top 18 production states, with a nationwide average of 6%, mirroring the prior five-year average.

The spring wheat harvest is nearly complete, moving from 92% a week ago up to 96%, which is right in line with the prior five-year average and moderately ahead of 2019’s pace of 84%.

Winter wheat planting progress doubled, going from 10% a week ago up to 20% through September 20. That’s slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 19%. And 3% of the crop is emerged, also slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 2%.

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

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings more than 14 years 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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