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USDA crop progress: Corn harvest reaches two-thirds completion

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Only 15% of soybeans left to harvest, per latest agency report

The 2019 corn harvest is now two-thirds complete as of November 10 after making progress totaling 14% this past week, according to the latest report from USDA, out Monday afternoon. And 10% of this year’s soybean crop was harvested last week, bringing the total pace to 85%.

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“The pace of harvest remains slow, especially in northern states where more snow fell over the past week,” according to Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr. “While this is supporting basis in the cash market, it’s also increasing the likelihood that fertilizer applications could be low again this fall. The weather will begin to warm up later next week, but rains could also return, keeping many fields a mess.”

Corn harvest made moderate headway but still landed two points behind analyst estimates, which suggested USDA would mark 68% of the harvest as complete. Total progress is still significantly behind 2018’s pace of 83% and the five-year average of 85%.

State-by-state difference vary widely. USDA says two southern states – Tennessee and North Carolina – have finished their corn harvests at this time. But four of the top 18 production states are still beneath 40% so far, including North Dakota (15%), Wisconsin (30%), Michigan (33%) and South Dakota (39%).

Soybean progress is further along, moving from 75% a week ago to 85%. That brings this year’s harvest progress closer in line to 2018’s pace of 87% and the five-year average of 92%. Of the top 18 production states, North Carolina (54%), Wisconsin (71%) and Missouri (72%) have the most progress yet to make.

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With more than half of both corn and soybean crops now harvested, USDA is no longer providing quality ratings in its weekly crop progress updates.

The agency has begun tracking winter wheat quality ratings, however. Although analysts estimated that USDA would hold those ratings steady from a week ago, at 57% rated good-to-excellent, it docked ratings three points lower, to 54% in good-to-excellent condition. Another 33% of the crop is rated fair (up three points from last week), with the remaining 13% rated poor or very poor (unchanged from last week).

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Planting progress for winter wheat inches closer to the finish line, meantime, with 92% of the 2019/20 crop now in the ground, versus 89% a week ago. That’s slightly ahead of 2018’s pace of 88% and in line with the prior five-year average of 92%. Seventy-eight percent of the crop is emerged, slightly behind the five-year average of 81%.

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“Despite the slow harvest progress, farmers appear to be seeding winter wheat on time,” Knorr says. “Crop ratings were mixed but a little lower overall, with our yield models ranging from 48.3 to 50.5 bushels per acre.”

Click here to see this week’s entire crop progress report from USDA.

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