Soybean harvest races ahead of corn harvest
by Laura Lloyd
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WASHINGTON – The US Department of Agriculture resumed publication of its weekly Crop Progress report Oct. 21, providing the market with fresh information at its usual 4 pm ET release time. But the Oct. 21 report did not provide comparative data from Oct. 13, 2013, when the US government was in partial shutdown.
As a result, crop progress was described only for the week ended Oct. 20. It could be compared to the same date a year ago and to the 2008-2012 average but not to a week ago. Results for the current year often diverged from the year-ago results because 2013 had a generally wet, cool growing season with planting delays while 2012 was dry and hot, with premature crop progress.
Anecdotal evidence of the progress being made in the current corn harvest was much discussed during the more than two weeks that the National Agricultural Statistics Service at the USDA was shut down. A few days before the shutdown ended, market participants were guessing that about 35 percent of the crop was harvested. The official data showed that the unscientific estimates of market participants were not far wrong.
The current Crop Progress report pegged the corn harvest in the 18 major states at 39 percent complete as of Oct. 20, down significantly from the 53 percent five-year average. The crop was 85 percent harvested on the same date a year ago.
The soybean harvest was ahead of the corn harvest as of Oct. 20, reflecting the decision of many producers to harvest the oilseed first because of the greater risk of damage to mature soybeans left in the field. The soybean harvest was 63 percent harvested as of Oct. 1, down six percentage points from the five-year average. On the same date a year ago, 79 percent of the soybean crop was harvested, the USDA said.
The condition of the corn and soybean crops in the 18 major states was given only for the week ended Oct. 20. The USDA said 60 percent of the corn crop and 57 percent of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent. A total of 14 percent of both the corn and soybean crops was rated very poor to poor in the week ended Oct. 20.