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Winter wheat crop hurting -- USDA

Jeff Caldwell 11/05/2012 @ 3:18pm Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

Another week of off-and-on precipitation in the Corn Belt has again kept farmers in general from reaching the corn harvest finish line.

Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report shows 95% of the crop's out of the field. It's still almost 1/4 of the way ahead of the normal pace, but only a 4% increase over last week. Farmers in South Dakota, Missouri and Minnesota have wrapped up harvest, while those in 9 other states are within 3% of finishing, Monday's report shows.

Farmers busy trying to wrap up soybean harvest had only a slightly better week; 93% of that crop's been harvested, a 6% move up from last week and just 7% above the average pace.

While row crop farmers are busy getting their crops harvested, wheat farmers are the ones facing the steepest climb right now. As of Sunday, just 39% of the winter wheat crop is in good-to-excellent condition. That's the "poorest start to the winter wheat crop in 20 years," says Agriculture.com Market Analyst Louise Gartner. And, looking ahead, those crop prospects don't look to gain much anytime soon.

"Unfortunately, the weather forecast is poor for Plains wheat going forward with another 2 weeks of acute dryness," according to a report Monday morning from AgResource Company, a Chicago-based brokerage firm.

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