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'Near-perfect' weather has corn, soybean harvest progress surpassing trade estimates

Agriculture.com Staff 09/24/2007 @ 2:37pm

Falling just short of market-watchers' estimates earlier in the afternoon, Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report indicates that as of Sunday, 22% of the U.S. corn crop has been harvested.

According to a Dow Jones Newswires report issued around mid-day Monday, analysts expected harvest progress to range from 25% to 30%. While the NASS number is a few percentage points below the market estimate, it's still well ahead of the average progress for this week, as the previous five-year average is 14%. This is the harvest progress level farmers had made one week ago.

While it's below what the market expected, the accelerated corn harvest progress level can be seen in the movement of cash corn in the countryside, according to Dow Jones Newswires. Receipts for corn, soybeans and sorghum, a report indicates, have more than doubled in the last week, thanks largely to "near-perfect" harvest weather over the weekend in the Corn Belt.

Soybean harvest has surged ahead of both the average pace and what analysts expected in Monday's USDA numbers. As of Sunday, 12% of the soybean crop has been harvested, compared to four percent a week ago and the previous five-year average for this week of 11%. Analysts expected 10% of the nation's soybeans to have been harvested by Sunday, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

While both corn and soybean harvest is starting to move along briskly, Mother Nature may have something to say about continued speedy progress in the next week. Two shots of moisture are on their way to the Midwest in coming days -- one Tuesday and another in the coming weekend -- that could derail harvest progress, or at least slow it a bit.

"Weather coming up for the Midwest is looking wet enough where farmers will not be able to be in the fields for a week straight, but is not looking wet enough where farmers will be out of the fields for a week straight either. Rain is still slated for the Corn Belt early this week, impacting western areas for later today through a portion of tomorrow and eastern areas for tomorrow through a portion of Wednesday," according to Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. "There may be locally big rains and some severe weather, but for the most part rain amounts are looking to be in the neighborhood of a half inch. This will be followed by several days of dry weather before rain looks likely again for the weekend."

In other crops, winter wheat seeding remains behind schedule, with 27% of the nation's crop planted as of Sunday versus the previous five-year average of 35% for this week. Cotton harvest is picking up, with 13% of the crop out of the field, identical to the previous five-year average. Sorghum harvest -- like corn and soybeans -- is slightly ahead of average at 30% versus the average pace of 28% for this week.

Falling just short of market-watchers' estimates earlier in the afternoon, Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report indicates that as of Sunday, 22% of the U.S. corn crop has been harvested.

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