USDA crop progress: Corn quality stable, harvest progress picks up

Soybean quality improves, with one-fifth of U.S. acres now harvested.

Ben Potter, Senior editor

September 28, 2020

2 Min Read

In the latest crop progress report from USDA, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through September 27, the agency reports stable corn quality, along with a slower-than-expected harvest pace. In contrast, soybean quality improved by a point, with a harvest that is progressing faster than expected.

Sixty-one percent of this year’s corn crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition, with 25% of the crop rated fair, and with the remaining 14% rated poor or very poor. All of those numbers were identical to USDA’s September 21 report.

Harvest progress has reached 15% completion, up from 8% last week. Analysts were expecting a bit more progress, with an average trade guess of 17%. That’s also slightly behind the prior five-year average of 16%. Three-fourths of the crop is now fully mature, up from 59% a week ago and ahead of the prior five-year average of 65%.

This year’s soybean crop is quickly nearing the end of the season, too. Seventy-four percent of the crop is now dropping leaves, up from 59% last week and moving more swiftly than the prior five-year average of 69%. And USDA has marked harvest progress at 20%, jumping ahead of last week’s mark of 6%, as well as the prior five-year average of 15%. Analysts were expecting the agency to show 18% of the crop has been harvested.

Quality-wise, 64% of the crop is now rated in good-to-excellent condition, up a point from last week. Analysts had expected USDA to hold ratings steady. Another 26% is rated fair (down a point from last week), with the remaining 10% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from a week ago).

USDA is no longer reporting spring wheat harvest progress after noting 96% completion last week. The agency continues to update winter wheat planting progress, however. The 2020/21 crop is now 35% planted, up from 20% last week and slightly ahead of the prior five-year average of 33%. And 10% of the crop is now emerged, versus 3% a week ago and the prior five-year average of 8%.

Click here for updates on additional crops, including sorghum, cotton, sugarbeets, pasture and range conditions, 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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