USDA crop progress: Corn harvest reaches 72%, soybeans 83%

Both crops came in a bit behind trade guesses for the week ending October 25.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

October 26, 2020

2 Min Read

This crop season is rapidly winding down. Evidence of that fact is ample in the number of combines that have been rolling through Midwestern fields over the past several weeks. Another piece of evidence is in the dwindling number of data points USDA shares in its weekly crop progress reports. The agency has stripped away all other quality and maturity data for corn and soybeans and is now only submitting harvest progress by the end of October.

Corn harvest is now 72% complete through Sunday, up from 60% a week ago and well ahead of the prior five-year average of 56%. Analysts were expecting a slightly faster pace, with an average trade guess of 73%. Of the top 18 production states, only Michigan (34%), Ohio (32%) and Wisconsin (40%) have yet to reach the halfway point.

Soybean harvest is even further along, making it to 83%, although analysts expected USDA to report progress at 86%. Stat’s still well above the prior five-year average of 73%, however, and even more ahead of 2019’s pace of 57%. North Carolina (21%) is the only top-18 production state that hasn’t yet cleared the halfway mark.

Harvest progress among southern row crops also found some forward momentum this week, including:

  • Cotton (42%, up from 34% last week)

  • Peanuts (56%, up from 41% last week)

  • Rice (94%, up from 91% last week)

The 2020/21 winter wheat crop is now 85% planted, meantime, up from 77% a week earlier, and moving ahead of the prior five-year average of 80%. And 62% of the crop is emerged, also coming in ahead of the prior five-year average of 60%.

USDA released its 2020/21 winter wheat quality ratings for the first time, too. Only 41% of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, which was far below the average trade guess of 52% and last year’s initial rating of 56%. Another 40% was rated fair, with the remaining 19% rated poor or very poor.

Click here for updates on additional crops, plus pasture and range conditions.

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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