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'It's going to be a long harvest'

Agriculture.com Staff 10/15/2007 @ 2:46pm

While it's still well ahead of the previous five-year average, corn harvest is becoming a bumpy ride for a lot of U.S. farmers, with harvest progress made in the last week ranging widely, according to this week's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report released Monday afternoon.

As of Sunday, 53% of the nation's corn crop had been harvested, an 11% jump in the last week and still 12% ahead of the previous five-year average pace. Farmers are near completion in southern states, according to Monday's NASS data, while in states like Nebraska and Iowa, progress remains behind schedule.

Soybean harvest is closer to the typical pace, with 66% of the nation's crop out of the field, just one percent above average and identical to the pace during this week a year ago.

The overall accelerated corn harvest pace is filled with peaks and valleys, according to a recent Agriculture Online poll. Of the almost 400 respondents as of Monday, about one-quarter say they're behind schedule, while nearly the same number say they're on a normal pace and almost the same say they're ahead of the average pace. One factor is less variable: Where harvest totals are low, the culprit is easy to find.

"Rain, rain, rain. We're slowed to a stop in south-central Minnesota," writes Agriculture Online Marketing Talk member 389billiards. "We have mudded through fields for the last week. We have gotten stuck with everything more than once. I was hoping to be done early this year. Not anymore. It's going to be a long harvest."

The rains have been not just heavy, but painfully consistent in southeastern Nebraska, hampering harvest progress for Marketing Talk member senebr for a month. "Since beginning harvest a month ago, we have had over seven inches of rain coming about every four or five days, so harvest is SLOW," he writes.

Yet, other farmers, like Marketing Talk member kraft-t say they're finished harvesting in other parts of the Midwest. He finished late last week, with a "historical finish." Elsewhere in central Illinois, d.taft says he wrapped up his harvest last Wednesday.

Turning to winter wheat sowing, the planting pace is slightly behind normal, as 73% of the country's crop was planted as of Sunday compared to the 76% previous five-year average. Emergence is also lagging, as 60% of the crop has emerged compared to the previous average of 68%. Cotton harvest, at 44%, is 10% ahead of the previous average, and sorghum harvest is moving at a quicker-than-usual clip at 55% compared to the previous average pace of 46%.

While it's still well ahead of the previous five-year average, corn harvest is becoming a bumpy ride for a lot of U.S. farmers, with harvest progress made in the last week ranging widely, according to this week's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report released Monday afternoon.

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