Market News & Headlines >> Corn Harvest Crawls Along

The U.S. corn harvest inched along at a slower-than-expected pace last week as some producers concentrated on soybeans and rain delays limited progress after midweek.

USDA in its weekly crop update put U.S. corn harvest progress at 17%, up only 6 percentage points from a week earlier and barely over half the five-year average of 32%. Trade expectations for harvest progress averaged 20%, according to a Reuters News Service survey.

U.S. soybean harvest moved ahead of corn harvest at 20% complete, up from 10% a week earlier, but still well behind the five-year average of 35%. Trade expectations for soybean harvest progress averaged 23%.

Corn crop conditions were unchanged from a week earlier at 74% good/excellent, indicating the crop is holding up very well so far. Amazingly, the soybean crop rating rose 1 point from the previous week to 73% good/excellent.

Corn harvest progressed very slowly last week in the top producing state of Iowa, where 5% of the crop had been harvested by Sunday, up only 3 points on the week and far behind the average of pace 26%.

Minnesota and South Dakota made identical slow corn harvest progress as Iowa last week and were behind their norms of 23% and 20% respectively. Progress was even less in Wisconsin and Michigan at 3%, up from 1% a week earlier. The five-year average progress for both of those states is 15%. Harvest is farther behind normal, though, in Illinois at 23% done versus an average of 45%.

Iowa had harvested only 9% of its soybean crop as of Sunday, a good two weeks behind the average pace of 42%. The Minnesota harvest was just 23% done versus an average of 48%, while the Nebraska harvest was 16% done versus an average of 41%.