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November 4, 2008

                            
US crop harvest trails average, soy crop catching up

                           


The US corn and soy harvests trail their 5-year averages, but the soybean cutting pace is catching up, the US Department of Agriculture said Monday (November 3) in its weekly crop progress report.

 

The harvest figures for corn and soy were in line with trade assumptions, analysts said.

 

Winter wheat planting, meanwhile, is near completion with conditions ratings improving and emergence slightly behind the 5-year average, according to the USDA.

 

The US corn harvest was 55 percent complete as of Sunday, up from 39 percent last week but down from the average of 79 percent, the USDA said. Analysts had expected harvest to be near 56 percent complete.

 

"The corn harvest is moving along nicely, but not far enough along with its collection pace to take concerns out of the market," said Terry Reilly, analyst with Citigroup in Chicago.

 

In Iowa, the country's top corn-growing state, 43 percent of the crop was harvested, down from 77 percent last year and the average of 79 percent, according to the USDA.

 

Harvest was 66 percent complete in Illinois, down from 97 percent in 2007 and the average of 92 percent. Indiana's harvest was 74 percent complete, down from 88 percent last year and the average of 76 percent.

 

The corn harvest is lagging behind average, but a lot of farmers are not to anxious to get in the fields, as corn has not dried down enough, said Dax Wedemeyer, analyst with US Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Many farmers want to save on drying costs, Wedemeyer added.

 

The USDA rated the crop 64 percent good to excellent, unchanged from last week.

 

At this point, corn ratings are not going to change much, but the late fall was helpful for late planted corn crops, Wedemeyer said.

 

The US soy harvest was 86 percent complete, up from 76 percent last week but down from the average of 89 percent, the USDA said. Analysts had expected harvest to be 84 percent to 87 percent complete.

 

The soy harvest numbers may put a little pressure on the market, particularly with this week's weather opening the door for good harvest activity, Reilly said.

 

In Iowa, 93 percent of the soy crop was harvested, down from 94 percent last year and below the average of 98 percent.

 

In Illinois, harvest was 90 percent complete, down from 97 percent last year and the average of 94 percent. Harvest was 91 percent complete in Indiana, compared to 95 percent in 2007 and the average of 90 percent.

 

The USDA said 67 percent of the crop was rated good to excellent, up from 55 percent last year. In Kansas, the top hard red winter wheat-producing state, 73 percent of the crop was rated good to excellent.

 

The 2 percentage-point increase in winter wheat ratings and good emergence will put a little pressure on the market, as the ratings show the crop is establishing nicely across the Great Plains, said Citigroup's Reilly.

 

The USDA said 76 percent of the US winter wheat crop had emerged, up from 69 percent last week and just shy of the 78 percent average. Winter wheat plantings were 90 percent complete, up from 84 percent last week but down from the average of 92 percent.

 

The planting pace is bearish for wheat, particularly with the pace of seedings catching up with the 5-year average, Reilly added.

 

Hard red winter wheat is used to make bread.

 

In Kansas, 82 percent of the crop was emerged, up from 77% last year, and identical to the average of 82 percent.

 

Kansas' crop was 91 percent planted, compared to 95 percent in 2007, and below the average of 96 percent.

 

In Ohio, 87 percent of the crop was emerged, down from 94 percent last year but up from the average of 74 percent, while 100 percent of the crop was planted. Ohio grows soft red winter wheat, used to make pastries and snack foods.
                                     

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