Wet weather slows US feed crop harvest

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

Despite setting a maturation rapid pace earlier this year, some US feed crops are seeing slower harvests than in previous years.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released new details regarding US feed crop production and harvest in a report​ on Monday [November 26].

The pace of harvest for several major feed crops including corn, soybeans and sorghum has trailed past years, with some crops still in the ground as of the week starting November 25, said the USDA.

The planting of winter wheat also is slightly behind at this point, the department added.

Producers faced weather challenges, said Kevin Scott, a director with the American Soybean Association based in South Dakota. Some producers in his region of the country still have crops in the field.

“The weather this year has been hard on farmers,” ​he told us. “It’s hard to get the crop out with so much moisture.”

Corn and sorghum lag

At this point, the corn harvest is trailing the average pace of production set, the USDA said. Generally, about 96% of the crop has been collected by this time and this year about 94% has been harvested.

However, four of the 18 states responsible for the majority of the production in 2017 have completed their production, the department said. They include Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.

States that are trailing the average schedule they established include Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota, the department said. The two states that have been quicker in their harvest than they were last year, but have yet to complete it are Colorado and Wisconsin.

Similarly, in the 11 states responsible for 99% of the sorghum produced last year, about 89% of the crop has been collected, said the USDA. Last year, and on average, about 94% has been harvested at this point.

Two states, Arkansas and Louisiana have completed their harvest, the department said. However, those trailing previous efforts include Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico and Oklahoma.  

Soybeans dawdle

Despite the completing of soybean harvests in Illinois and South Dakota, the majority of the 18 states responsible for producing 95% of the crop in 2017 see fieldwork continue, said the USDA.

Last year at this point about 99% of the feed crop had been collected, this year about 94% has been harvested, the department said.

With 64% of its crop collected, North Carolina remains the furthest from completion, the department said. However, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin all remain behind the harvest pace set last year.

Wheat progresses

In the 18 states responsible for the majority of the winter wheat crop last year, planting has reached about 95% completion, the USDA said. On average about 99% of the crop has been planted at this point – as it was in 2017.

The states trailing the planting pace set last year include Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas, the department said.

Only California and Indiana are ahead of the schedule set last year, the department said. Eleven states including Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington have completed their planting.

Overall emergence of the upcoming crop has reached about 86%, the department said. However, by this point last year, about 91% of the crop had sprouted.

However, crop condition appears to be outperforming last year’s crop, the department said. At this time in 2017, about 50% of the crop had earned a good or excellent rating and this year about 55% of the crop has that score, although, it is down slightly from the 56% with that rating last week.

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