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USDA crop progress: 2021 corn harvest 10% complete

Soybean harvest progress reached 6% through September 19.

Ben Potter

September 20, 2021

2 Min Read
Combine harvesting corn in the evening
Getty/iStockphoto

USDA’s latest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through Sept. 19, confirmed that this fall’s corn and soybean harvests have kicked off in earnest, with progress equal to or slightly ahead of the prior five-year average. Crop quality improved slightly for both crops, despite analyst predictions that ratings would hold steady from a week ago.

Corn harvest moved from 4% complete a week ago to 10% through September 19, mirroring analyst expectations. That puts the 2021 pace off to a slightly faster start than the prior five-year average of 9%. Nearly all of this year’s crop (93%) is now dented, with more than half (57%) now fully mature. Both of those maturity phases are tracking ahead of the prior five-year average.

Corn quality improved a point, with 59% of the crop now rated in good-to-excellent condition. Another 26% is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 15% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from last week).

Soybean harvest progress moved to 6% through Sunday, matching the prior five-year average. More than half of the crop (58%) is now dropping leaves, up from 38% a week ago. That’s ahead of both 2020’s pace of 56% and the prior five-year average of 48%.

USDA also raised soybean quality ratings by a point, with 58% of the crop now in good-to-excellent condition. Another 28% is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 14% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago).

Winter wheat plantings moved from 12% complete a week ago up to 21% through Sunday. That’s a bit faster than 2020’s pace of 19% and the prior five-year average of 18%. Just 3% of the crop is now emerged, which matches last year’s pace and bests the prior five-year average of 2% so far.

The nation’s pasture and range conditions continue to struggle, meantime. Just 24% is rated in good-to-excellent condition (down a point from last week). Another 30% is rated fair (down three points from last week), with the remaining 46% rated poor or very poor (up four points from a week ago).

Click here to read the latest USDA crop progress report for additional information on cotton, rice, peanuts, sorghum and more.

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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