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CROP PROGRESS: Corn harvest, crop quality buck expectations

Harvest remains sluggish, while crop ratings take an unexpected turn higher

Ben Potter

October 11, 2022

2 Min Read
11-05-20 UnloadingCorn050517-1540x800_1.jpg

USDA’s new crop progress report, covering the week through October 9, was released a day later than usual due to Monday’s federal Columbus Day holiday. Was the data in the latest report worth the wait? It certainly held some interesting numbers, not all of which aligned with analyst expectations. Corn data in particular took a couple of unanticipated turns, including a slower-than-usual harvest pace and a surprising turn for crop quality.

Analysts thought USDA would hold corn quality ratings steady, with 52% of the crop in good-to-excellent condition. However, the agency boosted ratings two points higher, to 54% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 26% was rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 20% rated poor or very poor (also down a point from last week).

Physiologically, 87% of the crop is fully mature, up from 75% and slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 85%. Harvest is also slightly ahead of the prior five-year average, with 31% completion through Sunday. However, analysts were hoping to see even more progress this past week, offering an average trade guess of 34% ahead of today’s report.

The 2022 soybean harvest is even farther along, doubling from 22% last week to 44% through October 9. That puts this year’s efforts behind 2021’s pace of 47% but ahead of the prior five-year average of 38%. It was also three points ahead of the average trade guess of 41%. Nearly all (91%) is now dropping leaves, up from 81% a week ago.

Related:Keep disease in mind as you select soybean seed and seed treatments

From a quality standpoint, USDA bumped ratings two points higher, with 57% of the crop now in good-to-excellent condition. Analysts thought the agency would hold ratings steady. Another 28% of the crop is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 15% rated poor or very poor (also down a point from last week).

Winter wheat plantings for the 2022/23 season are running a bit behind the pace of recent years, moving from 40% a week ago to 55% through October 9. That puts this year’s pace three points behind both 2021 and the prior five-year average, which are both 58%. Crop emergence improved from 15% a week ago up to 26% through Sunday. That’s six points behind the prior five-year average of 32%.

Click here for more data from the latest USDA crop progress report.

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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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