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Crop progress: Corn harvest off to a slow start

Getty/iStockphoto Mature corn field in the fall partially harvested
Soybean harvest also trending below the prior five-year average

The latest crop progress report from USDA, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through September 25, showed harvest pace for both corn and soybeans is progressing a bit slower than it has in recent years, with both crops trending behind their prior five-year averages. The agency also provided updates to corn and soybean quality ratings, the spring wheat harvest, winter wheat plantings and more in today’s report.

Corn quality ratings were mostly stable from a week ago, with 52% of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition through September 25 – matching analyst expectations. Another 27% is rated fair, with the remaining 19% rated poor or very poor – all unchanged from a week ago.

Physiologically, 92% of the crop is dented, versus the prior five-year average of 94%, and 58% is fully mature, versus the prior five-year average of 61%. Harvest pace moved from 7% a week ago up to 12% through Sunday, putting it behind both 2021’s pace of 17% and the prior five-year average of 14%. Southern states North Carolina (74%), Texas (72%), Kentucky (43%) and Tennessee (42%) have made the most inroads so far.

Soybean quality ratings were also steady week-over-week. Fifty-five percent of the crop is rated in good-to-excellent condition, with 30% rated fair and the remaining 15% rated poor or very poor. All categories are unchanged from a week ago.

Physiologically, 63% of the crop is dropping leaves, up from 42% a week ago and slightly behind the prior five-year average of 65%. Harvest progress moved from 3% to 8%, mirroring analyst expectations. That’s still a step behind 2021’s pace of 15% and the prior five-year average of 13%, meantime.

Spring wheat harvest moved one step closer to the finish line, with 96% completion through Sunday. That’s very close to the prior five-year average of 97%, while 2021’s harvest had already concluded by this time of the year.

Winter wheat plantings moved from 21% a week ago to 31% through Sunday. That’s very close to both 2021’s pace of 32% and the prior five-year average of 30%. Emergence is now at 9%, putting this season’s crop ahead of 2021’s pace of 8% and the prior five-year average of 6%.

Click here for more data from the latest USDA crop progress report, including updates on barley, sorghum, sunflowers, cotton and more.

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