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Corn Harvest Catches Up to Normal Pace as Winter Weather Hits

Now that the end is in sight for most farmers -- and fortunately so on account of the Arctic blast of freezing temperatures and snow that have moved into the nation's center this week -- corn and soybean harvest have both caught up to the normal pace, according to Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report.

Corn harvest is 80% complete, up 15% from the previous week and finally even with the previous average pace, according to Monday's report. Soybean harvest is in the homestretch, with 90% of that crop out of the field compared with the previous average of 91%. Farmers got 17% of that crop harvested in the last week.

"Phenomenal harvest progress has been made the past two weeks, and farmers are now nearly on pace with the five-year average, with 82% of the corn and 96% of soybeans out of the field,” Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey said Monday. “Southwest and south-central Iowa continue to be most affected by weather delays, and farmers in those regions have only been able to harvest 69% and 67% of corn as a result of the weather challenges.”

In Northey's state, 82% of corn is harvested, while soybeans are 96% complete, Monday's report shows.

Progress varies sharply from region to region, though; Michigan's corn harvest is only 43% complete. That's 20% behind the normal pace. The story is better for soybeans there; 85% of the soybean crop is harvested in Michigan, just 6% off the normal pace. Still, with the recent polar vortex sinking south from Canada and bringing freezing temperatures and snowfall, any remaining harvest work could be a challenge now.

"Around west-central Michigan, soybeans are wrapping up, with maybe 5% to 10% left," says Marketing Talk friend wcmifarmer on Monday. "But corn has hardly been touched. No snow here today, but it's in the forecast for the end of this week."

Though USDA's numbers show harvest is nearing its normal pace, in general, for this time of the season, they're not likely to cause much of a stir in the grain markets. Tuesday's early calls have soybeans leading the way in positive territory, with corn expected to trade higher while wheat may slide lower.


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