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USDA: Corn harvest nearing its end

Jeff Caldwell 11/08/2010 @ 3:45pm Agricultural content creator and marketer.

The dust is starting to settle as fewer and fewer combines remain running in the field. Corn harvest is wrapping up, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

The absence of soybean harvest progress numbers in Monday's report signifies that crop's already completely in the bin. As for corn, 96% of the crop's out of the field, with all Corn Belt states within a handful of percentage points away from completion. North Dakota farmers remain the furthest from being done, with 84% of that state's crop out of the field.

With so much crop out of the field, farmers are getting their other fall chores taken care of. Central Illinois farmer Colby Hunt said Monday he was near wrapping up his spraying, and he'll have his fertilizer applications knocked out by the end of next week.

"Will tile and fix washouts and tile holes until it snows," he said Monday on Twitter.

Looking ahead, the weather conditions that helped speed along harvest don't look to abate soon, with one exception. Though temperatures will likely stay on the higher side, the forecast includes more rainfall than earlier expected. That's good news to much of the Plains and Corn Belt, where moisture's been in extremely short supply for a while.

"One has to be a lot more optimistic about rainfall chances for the Plains hard-red winter wheat belt this week versus what it looked like back on Friday, as a good part of that area may see not just one but two systems over the next week to eight days," according to Monday's Weather Market Commentary from Freese-Notis Weather, Inc., in Des Moines, Iowa. "The storm system for late this week should also bring some nice rainfall amounts to the southwestern Corn Belt northeast through Wisconsin, and the storm system of early next week looks to bring some nice precipitation to the southeastern Corn Belt and the potential for rather heavy totals to the Delta and western parts of the Southeast."

That's welcome news for Plains wheat farmers especially. The crop -- of which only 45% is in good to excellent condition (compared to 63% a year ago) is in dire need of moisture.

"National winter wheat crop ratings are expected to decline (versus a week ago) in this afternoon's report, showing us clearly how badly these rains are needed across basically all of the Nation's winter wheat growing regions," adds Freese-Notis.

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