October 22, 2008
The US corn and soy harvests continue to lag from the average, the USDA said in its weekly crop progress report.
Analysts blamed wet conditions and late planting for the delays, but disagreed about the importance of the slowed harvest pace. There are concerns about weather threats to the un-harvested crops, although some say farmers still have time to get the crops out of the fields.
The US corn harvest was 29 percent complete as of Sunday (October 19), down from 58 percent last year and the average of 53 percent, the USDA said. Analysts had expected harvest to be about 25 to 35 percent complete.
US farmers said the crop is still too wet to cut. In Iowa, the country's top corn-growing state, 13 percent of the crop was harvested, down from 40 percent last year and the average of 43 percent, according to the USDA.
Harvest was 32 percent complete in Illinois, down from 89 percent in 2007 and the average of 76 percent. Indiana's harvest was 41 percent complete, down from 66 percent last year and the average of 50 percent.
The potential for poor weather to hurt the yet-to-be-harvested crop is a supportive concern for CBOT corn futures, Joe Victor, vice president of marketing for Allendale said.
However, Don Roose, president of US Commodities, said harvest delays are not an issue yet.
Meanwhile, the US soy harvest was 67 percent complete, down from 72 percent last year and the average of 74 percent, the USDA said. Analysts had expected harvest to be 65 to 75 percent complete.
Farmers are harvesting their soy first as they wait for the corn to dry, analysts said.
In Iowa, 80 percent of the soy crop was harvested, up from 75 percent last year but below the average of 89 percent.
In Illinois, harvest was 63 percent complete, down from 91 percent last year and the average of 83 percent. Harvest was 74 percent complete in Indiana, compared to 78 percent in 2007 and the average of 72 percent.
"Given the fact that we're going to have anticipated harvest delays this week, we need to get busy about getting this crop harvested before ill-fated weather," Victor said. "Both the corn and soy crops are vulnerable to yield loss and crop loss the longer we leave them in the field."
This week is not expected to be optimal for harvesting due to rain in some Midwest crop areas, analysts said.