USDA crop progress: Corn harvest finally surges ahead

Nearly one-fifth of the U.S. corn crop was harvested last week.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

November 7, 2017

5 Slides

The 2017 corn harvest finally got some momentum for the week ending Nov. 5, moving along 16% for a total of 70% complete, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report. That’s still well behind the five-year average of 83% complete, however. The soybean harvest and winter wheat planting progress each made headway last week, too.

For corn harvest, each of the 18 states that comprise 94% of total U.S. production has crossed the halfway mark, save for Wisconsin (37%). Some states took big leaps forward, such as Minnesota (from 38% to 60% complete), Iowa (from 44% to 67% complete) and South Dakota (from 35% to 61% complete). Several southern states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina, near 100% completion.

U.S. soybean harvest, at 90% complete, is right in line with the five-year average of 91%. In contrast to corn, the southern states are the furthest behind for soybean harvest, including Kentucky (63%), North Carolina (50%) and Tennessee (68%). Another 7% of the U.S. soybean crop was harvested last week, according to USDA.

Winter wheat planted has reached 91% – up from 84% a week ago. That’s identical to the pace of the five-year average, and up slightly from 90% progress this time last year. The 2017/18 winter wheat crop is now 75% emerged, slightly behind a year ago (78%) and the five-year average (77%).

Crop quality is in flux – 10% of the winter wheat crop is rated excellent (9% a week ago), 45% good (43% a week ago), 34% fair (36% a week ago) 8% poor (unchanged from a week ago) and 3% very poor (4% a week ago). Western states are setting the stage for excellent production for 2017/18, with G/E ratings of 95% in California, 56% in Idaho, 78% in Oregon and 83% in Washington. Several states further east are also posting high G/E ratings so far, including Indiana (72%), Michigan (74%), Ohio (88%) and North Carolina (79%).

“Winter wheat conditions improved last week, adding around a third of a bushel per acre to yield potential according to our models, which put yields at 47.3 to 50.6 bushels per acre, in line with projections a year ago,” noted Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.

Sorghum harvest for the week ending Nov. 5 advanced another 13%, to 72% completion. That’s slightly behind the five-year average of 78%, and further still behind 2016’s pace of 83%.

The cotton harvest has crossed the halfway mark, to 54%. The Mid-South/Delta region continues to lead the way, with states such as Arkansas (88%), Louisiana (98%), Mississippi (86%) and Missouri (89%) nearing completion. Texas, which holds more than half of all U.S. cotton acres in 2017, has now reached 44% harvest completion, in line with its five-year average.

About the Author(s)

Ben Potter

Senior editor, Farm Futures

Senior Editor Ben Potter brings two decades 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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