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Harvest Update: Clear Skies Allow Rapid Progress

Harvest Update: Clear Skies Allow Rapid Progress

Good yields continue as harvest focus shifts to corn

This will be the final weekly harvest report of the season. A considerable amount of corn remains but the purpose of this report was to provide insight on yields and crop quality and that has been accomplished.

A week of mostly rain-free weather allowed rapid harvesting across the Midwest, with soybeans nearly finished. In general, soybeans are being sold, while farmers are storing as much corn as they can.

Despite the late harvest, farmers and grain dealers continue to report few if any problems of fallen corn stalks or dropped ears.

Iowa – In northwest Iowa even the corn harvest is winding down with farmers turning to fall tillage and fertilizer application.

Good yields continue as harvest focus shifts to corn

"Whole field yields vary from 150 to 180 bushels per acre. Corn moisture levels are 16 to 19%. Corn is standing well.  Ear retention is very good. I am still amazed that I see little activity in the fields around me and suddenly the crop is harvested," said Brian Kemp, a farmer in Sibley.

In the southeast, harvest progress is similar with soybeans nearly finished and corn progressing well.

"Lowest (corn) yield in a small wetter field was 216 bu. but next lowest was 240. Highest yielding farm so far averaged. 273 on 60 acres," said John Heisdorffer. "We have all in farm storage but lines at local elevator are long. Looks like we may not get it all in bins at home."

In Iowa, spot cash basis bids ranged from 20 to 50 cents under December, with many of the best bids near the river in the east or at processors. Spot soybean bids were largely 50 to 60 cents under November, with instances of 74 under, but about 20 under near the river.


USDA said Iowa corn was 36% harvested as of Sunday and soybeans 81% versus the respective five-year averages of 65% and 85%. The state's corn yield is estimated at 185 bushels and soybeans at 51 bushels, versus 2013's 165 and 45.5.

Illinois – Harvest is similar to Iowa, with soybeans winding down and farmers concentrating on corn.

"Beans are finished and about a third of corn is done. Lighter ground is better than average on yield. Heavier ground is above average for yield," said Aaron Book, in north central Illinois.

Soybean yields continue to impress, ranging from 55 to 80 bushels, and the recent jump in the futures have had farmers selling them, said Todd Tesdal, operations manager at Grainco FS in Mazon.

Farmers have been quiet on corn yields, which has Tesdal concluding the yields are pretty high. He estimates corn harvest is about 25% done in his area and the grain is of "good quality."

"Very little selling has occurred with the board rally.  Seems if the price doesn't start with a 4 producers are content to store/DP and roll the dice on a post- harvest rally," he said.

As of Sunday, USDA said 59% of Illinois corn was harvested versus the 72% average, and soybeans were 63% cut versus the 77% average. The state is forecast to yield 200 bushels on corn and 56 on soybeans, versus 2013's 178 and 50.

Indiana  -  Rain briefly interrupted harvest this week, but combines should be rolling soon as forecasts favor clear weather through the weekend.

"We should have soybeans complete over the weekend, depending upon how the rain we're experiencing plays out. Yields remain fantastic," said Christopher Hudson of Crawfordsville in west central Indiana, who currently estimated the farm-wide soybean average yield at over 70 bushels per acre.

Corn harvest was about 30% done, which may create a traffic jam of trucks when the remainder is hauled to commercial elevators.

"We're six productive days of fieldwork away from completing corn harvest, but at this point I have no expectation that that window will open entirely without Mother Nature interfering," he said.

USDA said 44% of Indiana's corn was harvested as of Sunday, versus the 60% average and 50% of the soybeans versus the 75% average.

USDA estimates Indiana's corn yield at 186 bushels and soybeans at 54 bushels, versus 2013's 177 and 51.5.

North Dakota – The single farmer report from this state matched USDA's reports, that soybean harvest was nearly finished with good yields, while the corn harvest was in the early stages.

"Some corn has been combined. Yields and quality highly variable due to frost damage in some areas. Expect an average crop overall. Most farmers waiting for corn to dry in the field to save drying cost," said Bob Wisness of Arnegard in western North Dakota.

As of Sunday, North Dakota's corn was 22% harvested versus the 52% average and soybeans were at 93% versus the 78% average.

USDA forecast the state's average corn yield at 128 bushels versus 2013's 110,  and soybeans at 33 bushels, up from 2013's 30.5.

The spot corn basis at various North Dakota locations ranged from $1.00 to $1.10 under December and soybeans about $1.00  to  $1.05 under either November or January.

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