October 08, 2003


US Crop Progress Wrap: Soy Harvest Outpaces Corn

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop progress report as of Oct. 5 revealed corn and soybean harvesting continuing to lag behind the average pace. The report showed a shift in farmer focus, as soybean cuttings have moved to the forefront, with corn combining slowing in relation to beans.


"Soybean harvesting has raced ahead of corn, as producers look to cut beans before adverse weather emerges to damage pods," said Bill Nelson, associate vice president with A.G. Edwards and Sons in St. Louis.




Twenty-seven percent of the U.S. corn crop was reported harvested, up from 18% last week. Corn cuttings continue to lag behind the five-year average of 33%. Trade participants were anticipating harvest numbers in the 30% to 35% range.


The major corn producing states continue to trail the five-year averages, with Illinois at 32% cut, but lagging behind the average pace of 42%. Iowa combining had reached 17% complete, up from 10% last week, Nebraska producers had harvested 18% of the corn crop, up from 11% last week while trailing the five year average of 31%.


The overall percentage of harvested acreage trails the five-year average, but the cutting pace in widely varied, with areas in central Illinois near 60% complete while reports from areas farther north in LaSalle, Ill., were only 10% complete, traders said.


Maturity levels are at 90%, up from 79% last week, while trailing the average pace for this time of year at 93%.


The condition of the crop was up from the prior week, with 50% of the crop rated in good to excellent condition compared to 49% last week.




The USDA reported 37% of the U.S. soybean crop had been harvested, up from 17% last week. The five-year average for soybeans is 39%. Traders were expecting a harvest figure between 30-35% complete. Western belt states led the charge in soybean combining, with Iowa at 56% harvested, up 36 percentage points from the previous week. Minnesota cuttings improved to 68% complete, a 35-percentage-point increase from last week. Eastern Midwest states have progressed at a slower clip, with Illinois leading the eastern belt at 38% cut, up from last week's 15%.


Eighty-nine percent of the crop was reported dropping leaves, compared to last week's 78%, nearly on-track with the five-year average of 90%.


Crop ratings place 38% of the crop in good to excellent condition, down one percentage point from the prior week.


"The condition ratings were a bit of a surprise, as some market participants were unsure how crop ratings did not fall more based of the poor yields being reported from early harvests," said Nelson.




Sixty-three percent of the winter wheat crop was planted as of Sunday, up from 49% the prior week, and continuing to eclipse the five-year average pace of 56% at this time of the year. Kansas plantings were at 62%, up from 45% the previous week. Oklahoma had sown 70% of its winter wheat, well above the five-year average of 54%


Winter wheat emergence is moving along at a better-than-average pace. Emergence was reported at 31%, up from last week's 20%. The five-year average is 29%.


"Winter wheat plantings are ahead of normal, and with on-and-off rain showers, moisture should be sufficient for seedings," added Nelson.



Source: USDA

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