Combines have been going full blast earlier than ever and the latest USDA Crop Progress Report shows just how fast they've been moving. According to the report 69% of the corn has been harvested, and 58% of the soybeans have been harvested so far this year. Both numbers are far ahead of the five year average for either crop.
Whether the yield for that early corn harvest will pay off big remains to be seen - with USDA reporting new figures on Thursday. However, the latest crop progress report shows that 97% of the corn is mature and waiting to be cut. Top states for harvest include Tennessee at 95%, Texas at 82%, North Carolina at 88%, Kentucky at 87% and Illinois at 80%.
Soybeans: Meanwhile soybean harvest is moving right along too. Ninety three percent of the crop is dropping leaves and with 58% harvested, farmers are well on their way to finishing ahead of Thanksgiving this year. In past years harvest for either corn or soybeans might have been accompanied by Christmas carols near the end as farmers worked to bring in the crop. But the early planted crop combine with the dry season has accelerated maturity.
Top harvested states for soybeans include Minnesota at 95%, North Dakota at 93%, South Dakota at 91%, Iowa at 80% and Wisconsin at 75%.
Cotton: Harvest is starting in cotton country too with 21% of the crop out of the field - or at least run through the picker. That's about average for this time of year. The report shows that 85% of the crop has bolls opening, which is just ahead of schedule.
Top harvested states include Louisiana at 68% and Arkansas at 50%.
Wheat: About 57% of winter wheat has been planted, but with crop insurance deadlines near, that number will be much higher in next week's report. The current number is a bit behind the five-year average as farmers waited for moisture in some parts of the Wheat belt to put seed in the ground.
About 23% of the winter wheat crop has emerged, which is also behind the five-year average. Nebraska, for example, shows 31% emerged which is about half the number for an average year. This drought year is extending itself into fall and it's a worry for wheat producers going into the winter.
Pasture and Range: While the pasture condition rations didn't change much, where there was a move it was to the bad. In this latest report USDA says 56% of the pasture and range acreage is poor to very poor, that's up from 55% last week. The fringe pasturelands are slipping further as they wait for rains.
Nebraska is hard hit showing 97% of its pasture and rangelands rated poor to very poor.