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Corn crop accelerating to the finish

Jeff Caldwell 08/30/2010 @ 3:25pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

More corn's ready for the combine than usual this week, USDA says. It could be the beginning of an early, quick harvest for some farmers. In fact, some say they could be finished by the time next week's 3-day Labor Day weekend rolls around.

As of Sunday, 17% of the nation's corn crop is ready to go, according to Monday's latest USDA-NASS Crop Progress report. That's 6% ahead of the previous average, and 12% above a year ago. Though that number's not huge now, farmers say it's changing quickly, and by the end of this week, a lot of the crop could already be in the bin.

"I saw one field start out at 50% green stalks and by the end of the day yesterday, it was nearly all white. A lot of corn dropped its ears yesterday," says Agriculture.com Marketing Talk member jrsiadranch. "A lot of this corn will be ready to shell in 7-10 days."

That kind of quick progress is just one side of the story. With many elevators looking for fresh, higher-quality corn to blend with the remnants of last year's lower-quality crop, terminals are offering incentives for farmers to get the corn flowing faster than usual, says Marketing Talk member centralillinois.

"A lot of corn will be harvested before Labor Day in this area. Some elevators are offering half-price drying to get decent corn across the scales," he says. "Some early varieties are testing in the teens. The lack of moisture over the last month has accelerated the finish."

For soybeans, USDA reported Monday the crop's begun dropping leaves (8% versus zero a week ago). Sixty-four percent of the bean crop is in good-to-excellent condition, while 70% of the corn crop's rated good to excellent.


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