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Mapping Out October Harvest Delays Across the Corn Belt

Harvest continued at a slow pace across much of the Corn Belt over the last week.

Nationally corn harvest is 30% complete as of October 20, but the USDA Crop Progress report released October 21 shows three states still reporting single-digit numbers.

Soybean progress also lags behind the national five-year average pace. Nationally, soybeans are 46% harvested compared with an average pace of 64%.

Iowa

A few pockets of the Hawkeye state recorded about a quarter inch of rain between October 14 and 20. The southeast corner of the state stayed mostly dry.

Iowa precipitation map
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Just 15% of the state’s corn crop has been harvested, well behind the five-year average pace of 34%.

Iowa farmers have harvested 48% of the state soybean crop compared with the five-year average pace of 61%.

Blaine Groth farms about 1,300 acres with his parents near Gladbrook, Iowa. He says they were able to make great progress Tuesday through Friday of last week and estimates they’re two thirds done with soybeans. He says the family has three more full days of bean harvesting left.

“So far we are down 10 bushels an acre on yield for beans,” he says. “That is skewed because we have some creek bottom where we lost about 8 acres to flood.”

By the end of the season, Groth figures their average soybean yield will be 5 to 7 bushels an acre lower than last year.

While they wait for the remaining bean acres to dry out, they’ll focus on corn this week. He says corn planted in late April is yielding comparable to his whole farm average last year. Time will tell for his later planted corn.

When it’s all said and done, Groth thinks the farm’s corn yield will work out to be 5% to 10% lower than last year.

Illinois

A quarter inch of rain was reported in southern Illinois. Many counties in the central part of the state were dry the week of October 14.

Illinois precipitation map
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Although Illinois farmers made 13% progress since last week, just 36% of the state’s corn crop has been harvested. The five-year average pace for this time of year is 70%.

Soybean progress also trails the five-year pace of 68%. Just 52% of the state’s beans are out of the field.

Conrad Smith is an ag retailer in west-central Illinois near Barry. In his area, last week was cooler but dry, allowing farmers to get in the field. He estimates it was the biggest week of harvest to date for his part of the state.

“Yields have been erratic with some nice surprises, and some disappointments as well,” he says.

Planting date, elevation, and soil types have been three major factors among farmers he works with.

“This appears to be a year when fungicide has been a key benefit in corn and soybeans due to stress and disease pressures,” he adds.

Nebraska

The southeast quarter of Nebraska received up to 0.56 inch of rain last week.

Map of Nebraska precipitation
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Nebraska farmers got 10% of the state’s corn harvested in a week’s time for a total of 30% of the crop harvested by October 20. Still, that’s behind the five-year average pace of 35%.

A whopping 32% of Nebraska’s soybean crop was harvested over the last week, but total harvested soybean acreage still falls 7% shy of the 67% five-year average pace.

Minnesota

Although totals were less than an inch across the state, nearly all of Minnesota saw precipitation last week.

Map of Minnesota precipitation
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Just 11% of the state’s corn crop has been harvested, more than 20% behind the five-year average pace of 35%.

Soybean harvest is 42% complete in Minnesota. The five-year average pace is 81%.

Wanda Patsche raises corn, soybeans, and pigs with her family near Welcome, Minnesota, in the southern part of the state. While she’s thankful they were able to get in the field some of last week, two years of weather woes are taking a toll on her farm.

She estimates her farm got less than a half inch of rain last week, allowing her to get most of the soybeans harvested.

“Our soybeans were very difficult to harvest,” she says. “The soybeans themselves were mature and dry, but the stems were not. We were continually having to get out and clear out wrapped up soybeans in the reel.”

Although harvesting was hard, Patsche was pleasantly surprised by the soybean yields.

With most the beans out of the field, corn harvest has begun.

“Corn has been very wet, averaging 26% to 30%,” she says. “We noticed yesterday it did drop down to about 22%.”

Within the same field, yields vary wildly. In some patches, there is simply no corn to harvest. Green snap devastated some of the crop in July. In those areas, yields are well below 100 bushels an acre, she says. Yet, in the same field she’s seeing over 200 bushels per acre in the healthier parts.

Indiana

The west-central counties of Indiana stayed dry while more than a half inch of rain was recorded in the south-central part of the state last week.

Map of Indiana precipitation
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Indiana farmers got 12% of the state’s corn harvested in a week’s time for a total of 36% harvested corn acres. The five-year average pace is 53%.

Soybean harvest is 53% complete in the Hoosier state, but still falls short of the five-year average of 62%.

South Dakota

South Dakota is still recovering from the blizzard that hammered the region October 10 through 12, but did not record significant precipitation last week.

map of South Dakota precipitation
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Corn harvest in South Dakota remains in the single digits. Just 9% of the crop has been harvested, up 4% from last week. The five-year average corn harvest pace is 29% for the state.

Similarly, soybean harvest is dramatically behind the five-year average pace of 76% complete. Just 33% of South Dakota’s soybeans have been harvested.

Kansas

The highest precipitation totals were recorded in central Kansas last week.

map of Kansas precipitation totals
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Kansas farmers harvested 14% of the state’s corn crop over the last week, but still fell more than 10% behind the five-year average pace of 73%.

Soybean harvest is 32% complete in Kansas. The five-year average pace is 41%.

Wisconsin

More than an inch of precipitation fell in parts of northern Wisconsin last week.

Wisconsin precipitation totals map
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Wisconsin is also reporting single-digit corn harvest progress. Only 7% of the state’s corn has been harvested compared with the five-year average pace of 24%.

Soybean harvest is 32% complete, lagging behind the five-year average of 55%.

Missouri

The extreme northwest and southeast corners of Missouri recorded the highest precipitation totals in the state last week.

Missouri Precip map
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Although more than half of the state’s corn has been harvested with USDA reporting corn harvest 55% complete in Missouri, progress continues to lag behind the five-year average of 77%.

Soybean harvest is 26% complete in Missouri. The five-year average pace is 41%.

Ohio

Precipitation fell across the Buckeye State last week with totals ranging from 0.16 to 1.02 inches.

Ohio precipitation map
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Just 26% of Ohio corn has been harvested compared with the five-year average of 41%.

Ohio farmers have harvested 55% of the state’s soybean crop, but still fall shy of the five-year average pace of 65%.

North Dakota

While still recovering from a blizzard that hit the state earlier this month, North Dakota saw as much as 0.30 inch of precipitation last week.

North Dakota precipitation map
Iowa Environmental Mesonet

North Dakota trails the top 18 corn growing states in corn harvest, with just 4% complete. The five-year pace in the state is 24%.

Soybean progress is delayed even more dramatically. The five-year average pace is 81%, but soybean harvest is just 20% complete in North Dakota.

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