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USDA crop progress: Harvest doubles its pace

Overall crop progress remains slightly behind five-year averages.

According to the latest crop progress report from USDA, U.S. farmers more than doubled their progress for the 2017 corn harvest in the latest week. A total of 23% of the crop is now harvested, up from 11% a week ago.

Corn that has not yet been harvested races toward maturity. Now, 84% of the crop is mature, up from 51% a week ago and ahead of the five-year average of 78%. And 100% of the crop is now considered at least to the dented stage.

With corn harvest nearly wrapped in southern states such as Texas and North Carolina, progress is now rolling along steadily in the Midwest. Missouri (53%), Illinois (40%) and Indiana (23%) are making good headway. Some other states, including Iowa (9%) and Minnesota (7%) are just getting started and lag behind the five-year average.

USDA bumped up the percent of the crop rated good to excellent to 63%. That’s two percentage points higher than a week ago. According to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr, that has helped to bump up yield potential.

“Corn yield potential was up a bushel or more per acre, thanks to big gains in Illinois and South Dakota that offset losses in the eastern Corn Belt,” he says. “Our two models range from 165.3 bpa to 167.8 bpa.”

Soybean yield potential is also higher this week, Knorr says.

“Soybean yield potential showed a modest improvement last week, gaining about a tenth of one bushel per acre,” he says. “Our projections based on ratings range from 47.3 bpa top 48.4 bpa.”

Overall soybean good-to-excellent ratings remained steady at 60% - however, crop rated “good” dropped 1% while crop rated “excellent” rose 1%. Harvest raced ahead to 24% complete, which is more than double the progress from a week ago (11%) and nearly matches the pace of the five-year average (26%). Unharvested soybeans are maturing quickly, with 81% now dropping leaves (up from 63% a week ago).

The 2017-18 winter wheat crop is getting planted a bit slower than normal. As of Oct. 1, 36% of the crop has been planted – down from 41% a year ago and 43% for the five-year average. Crop emergence is up to 12% - down from 18% a year ago and 16% for the five-year average.

This year’s sorghum crop is now 60% mature, up from 52% a week ago and slightly behind the 63% five-year average. Harvest is now 34% complete, also slightly behind the five-year average of 37%.

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