USDA's first harvest progress report of the season, released on Monday, showed the U.S. corn harvest running just slightly behind normal with crop maturation catching up to the average pace. In its weekly crop update, USDA estimated the U.S. harvest was 10% complete, well behind last year’s rapid pace of 18%, but only 1 percentage point behind the five-year average.
USDA reported that 46% of the U.S. corn crop was mature as of Sunday, up from 29% a week earlier and just 2 points behind the five-year average.
USDA’s rating of corn conditions slipped to 51% from 53% a week earlier and 68% a year earlier. Condition ratings for Minnesota and North Dakota showed the biggest drop after the freeze that hit those states last week. The good/excellent rating for the Minnesota crop dipped by 7 points, while the portion of the North Dakota crop rated in that category fell by 9 points.
Harvest is moving rapidly in southern parts of the Corn Belt with 34% of the Missouri crop out of the field compared with 32% last year and the average pace of 29%. In Kansas, where the crop was severely hurt by drought, harvest was 32% done vs. an average of 24%.
In the top corn-producing state of Iowa, harvest is off to a normal start at 3% done, on par with the five-year average. Many producers are concentrating on getting wind- and hail-damaged corn out of the field first, the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) said in its weekly update.
Corn lodging is a bigger problem in Iowa than last year due to several widespread wind events during August. Ear droppage is also more prevalent, but only 6% of the crop was showing moderate to heavy ear droppage.
The Iowa corn harvest should accelerate fairly rapidly as 60% of the state’s crop is estimated to be mature, ahead of the five-year average of 49%, although undamaged fields may be allowed to dry down further. The average moisture content for Iowa corn was estimated at 29%, with corn currently being harvested averaging 24% moisture, according to NASS.
In the No. 2 corn state of Illinois, 11% of the corn crop had been harvested by Sunday against the five-year average of 15% as above-normal rains slowed harvest activities in southern areas of the state last week. USDA estimated 63% of the Illinois corn crop was mature, ahead of the average of 55%.
Editor’s note: Richard Brock, Corn & Soybean Digest's marketing editor, is president of Brock Associates, a farm market advisory firm, and publisher of The Brock Report.