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USDA crop progress: Rains slow harvest pace

Getty/iStockphoto Combine harvesting corn
Corn and soybean harvests take a step closer to the finish line.

USDA’s latest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through Oct. 31, confirmed what many analysts had already suspected – ample rains across the central U.S. this past week slowed down harvest considerably in some areas. Corn’s harvest pace is still well ahead of the prior five-year average, while soybeans slowed down enough to fall behind the prior five-year average.

The 2021 corn harvest reached 74% completion through Sunday, which was up from 66% a week ago and a point below the average trade guess of 75%. Fieldwork is still running roughly a week ahead of the prior five-year average, which is 66%.

The 2021 soybean harvest only moved from 73% completion a week ago up to 79% through Sunday. Analysts were expecting to see that number reach 81%. That puts this year’s efforts well short of 2020’s pace of 86% and two points behind the prior five-year average of 81%.

Other row crop harvests around the country continue to see some forward momentum, including:

  • Cotton at 45% (up from 35% a week ago)
  • Sorghum at 80% (up from 71% a week ago)
  • Peanuts at 67% (up from 51% a week ago)
  • Sugarbeets at 87% (up from 64% a week ago)
  • Sunflowers at 53% (up from 40% a week ago)

Winter wheat plantings, meantime, moved from 80% completion a week ago up to 87% through Sunday. That’s down slightly from 2020’s pace of 88% but just ahead of the prior five-year average of 86%. And 67% of the crop is now emerged, up from 55% last week.

Quality ratings faced a one-point drop, with 45% rated in good-to-excellent condition through Oct. 31. Analysts were expecting to see a two-point gain, in contrast. Another 34% of the crop is rated fair (steady from a week ago), with the remaining 21% rated poor or very poor (up a point from last week).

Click here to read today’s USDA crop progress report for more information on the aforementioned crops, along with a look at the latest pasture and range conditions.

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