USDA crop progress: Corn harvest finally surges ahead

Source: By Ben Potter, Farm Futures • Posted: Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Harvesting corn - aerial view. Combine and grain cart

Nearly one-fifth of the U.S. corn crop was harvested last week.

The 2017 corn harvest finally got some momentum for the week ending Nov. 5, moving along 16% for a total of 70% complete, according to the latest USDA Crop Progress report. That’s still well behind the five-year average of 83% complete, however. The soybean harvest and winter wheat planting progress each made headway last week, too.

For corn harvest, each of the 18 states that comprise 94% of total U.S. production has crossed the halfway mark, save for Wisconsin (37%). Some states took big leaps forward, such as Minnesota (from 38% to 60% complete), Iowa (from 44% to 67% complete) and South Dakota (from 35% to 61% complete). Several southern states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina, near 100% completion.

U.S. soybean harvest, at 90% complete, is right in line with the five-year average of 91%. In contrast to corn, the southern states are the furthest behind for soybean harvest, including Kentucky (63%), North Carolina (50%) and Tennessee (68%). Another 7% of the U.S. soybean crop was harvested last week, according to USDA.

Winter wheat planted has reached 91% – up from 84% a week ago. That’s identical to the pace of the five-year average, and up slightly from 90% progress this time last year. The 2017/18 winter wheat crop is now 75% emerged, slightly behind a year ago (78%) and the five-year average (77%).

Crop quality is in flux – 10% of the winter wheat crop is rated excellent (9% a week ago), 45% good (43% a week ago), 34% fair (36% a week ago) 8% poor (unchanged from a week ago) and 3% very poor (4% a week ago). Western states are setting the stage for excellent production for 2017/18, with G/E ratings of 95% in California, 56% in Idaho, 78% in Oregon and 83% in Washington. Several states further east are also posting high G/E ratings so far, including Indiana (72%), Michigan (74%), Ohio (88%) and North Carolina (79%).

“Winter wheat conditions improved last week, adding around a third of a bushel per acre to yield potential according to our models, which put yields at 47.3 to 50.6 bushels per acre, in line with projections a year ago,” noted Farm Futures senior grain market analyst Bryce Knorr.

Sorghum harvest for the week ending Nov. 5 advanced another 13%, to 72% completion. That’s slightly behind the five-year average of 78%, and further still behind 2016’s pace of 83%.

The cotton harvest has crossed the halfway mark, to 54%. The Mid-South/Delta region continues to lead the way, with states such as Arkansas (88%), Louisiana (98%), Mississippi (86%) and Missouri (89%) nearing completion. Texas, which holds more than half of all U.S. cotton acres in 2017, has now reached 44% harvest completion, in line with its five-year average.