Harvest Weather May Improve Next Week

Jeff Caldwell
Agriculture.com Multimedia Editor

The corn and soybean harvest hasn't been this slow in 30 years.

That's according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report that indicates only 20% of the nation's corn crop has been harvested. That's compared to the previous five-year average for this week of 58%, and only 3% up from a week ago.

Monday's number marks the slowest progress in 30 years, with the next-slowest harvest having dropped in 1992, when 33% of the corn was picked by this week of the year, according to Charlie Notis of Freese-Notis Weather, Inc.

The story's only slightly better with the soybean crop; as of Sunday, 44% of the nation's beans had been harvested, compared to the previous average of 80% completion. Trade estimates ranged between 40% and 65% completion before Monday's numbers were released.

Farmers are itching to get back into the field to get these tardy crops in the bins, but Mother Nature's doing her best to keep the combines still. Farmers and Agriculture.com Marketing Talk members say even though soybean progress is slightly ahead of corn at this point, they're starting to focus on corn in an effort to get what they can done before time runs out.

"We just got done getting 2.3" of rain Saturday morning, but with a little sunshine that afternoon, combines were back in corn by 10:00 a.m. Sunday. Basically, as soon as the stalks are dry guys are running," said Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member Illini100 Monday afternoon. "Yes the ground is wet, but that's just the way it'll be now until it freezes. We're getting light drizzle/rain now in NW Illinois, but combines will be running in corn by mid-morning tomorrow."

Still, other farmers in the discussion say they're seeing indications the weather will improve in the next 2 weeks, allowing harvest to get rolling as the October page is torn off the calendar. Notis agrees: After this week of wetter conditions in corn and soybean country, things should improve.

"Saturday should be largely dry for the Corn Belt and Delta, and right now there does not appear to be all that much precipitation in forecast from that day right through at least November 5 or 6. What does fall in that time frame should be mainly in the northern Corn Belt and northern Plains for about November 4, and should be pretty light," Notis says.

"Wednesday and Thursday of this week should be abnormally warm days for a change for a lot of the Corn Belt and Delta, but it will turn a lot colder for the weekend. There are signs though of above-normal temperatures again for November 3 and beyond."