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Soybean harvest nearing its end

Jeff Caldwell 10/11/2011 @ 4:04pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Fueled by mostly hot, dry weather in the Midwest, farmers made major strides in corn and soybean harvest last week, moving just ahead of the normal pace for this week in corn while registering a double-digit gain in soybean harvest.

As of Sunday, 90% of the soybean crop is harvested, up from 76% the previous week and just 2% off the previous average pace, according to Tuesday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report, this week delayed a day because of Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Twelve percent more corn was harvested in the last week, moving progress for that crop to 33%, 1% ahead of the normal harvest progress for this week.

Soybean yields are coming in surprisingly high for a lot of farmers in the Corn Belt; last week, farmers in Iowa, for example, were finding bean yields from the lower 50s to almost 70 bushels/acre.

"It's been our best year for beans on average," says Boone County, Iowa, farmer Kelley Kokemiller, who says he's had yields near the 70-bushel/acre mark. "It's amazing how timely rains are so important."

Kokemiller says he had a 4-inch rain in August that made all the difference for his crop.

Looking ahead, the weather forecast bides well for more big harvest progress in the next week to 10 days. After scattered showers Monday and Tuesday, it's expected to dry out again in much of the Midwest, keeping the combines running hard.

"For all intents and purposes, the Midwest soybean harvest will be able to be wrapped up here in the first half of October," says Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., ag meteorologist Craig Solberg. "The way I see the weather pattern shaping up, the corn harvest should be able to be finished on a timely fashion as well during the second half of October."

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