Market News & Headlines >> Corn Harvest Slowest in 8 Years

The U.S. corn harvest pace remained the slowest since 2009 after rains limit fieldwork over much of the Corn Belt last week, but drier weather across the Corn Belt should boost harvest activity significantly over the next 10 days to two weeks. 

The U.S. corn harvest was just 27% complete as of Sunday, up 5 percentage points from a week earlier and 19 points behind the five-year average of 47%, according to Monday’s weekly Crop Progress report from USDA. However, 90% of the crop was rated mature, only 4 points below the average pace. 

Harvest progress remained behind normal across the Corn Belt, but especially in the northwest Corn Belt, with only 13% of the Iowa crop harvested versus a five-year average of 41% and just 7% of the Minnesota crop out of the field versus an average of 38%. In South Dakota, harvest was only 12% done compared with an average of 39%. 

The slow harvest pace has provided limited support for corn prices, though, with U.S. corn condition ratings showing unusual late-season improvement. USDA rated U.S. corn conditions 65% good/excellent, up 1 point from a week earlier, although still 9 points below a year earlier. 

U.S. soybean harvest progress also remained behind normal at 49% compared with the five-year average of 60%. Harvest remained well behind in the top growing state of Iowa with progress there at only 32%, less than half the 5-yr. avg. of 66%. The harvest pace also remained slow in Minnesota at 45%, vs. the avg. pace of 82% and in Nebraska at 33% vs. the avg. of 67%.  Only 48% of South Dakota’s crop had been harvested, versus an average pace of 78%. 

However, the Illinois harvest stayed ahead of the normal pace at 63% done vs. an average of 58% and Indiana harvest progress at 52% was on par with average and Ohio progress at 54 was a point ahead of normal. The U.S. crop rating, as expected, held steady at 61% good/excellent.