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Corn, Soybean Harvest Nearing Its End -- USDA

The finish line is just around the corner.

Corn and soybean harvest officially entered the homestretch in the last few days -- for many, not quite as soon as they'd prefer on account of the blast winter temperatures and precipitation over the weekend -- and it's likely to wrap up given one more small weather window, farmers and analysts say.

Monday's USDA-NASS Crop Progress report shows 89% of the nation's corn and 94% of its soybean crop have been harvested as of Sunday, both about on par with the normal pace for this time of year. Those are 9% and 4% increases over the previous week, within 2% of the previous five-year averages, and near or within previous trade estimates.

The progress came despite a major shift in weather in much of the nation's center, with temperatures diving well south of normal for this time of year, and snowfall entering the weather lexicon for the first time since spring.

"Snow fell across a wide swath of the upper Midwest over the weekend with most quantities fairly limited. While that will provide a nuisance for the balance of the harvest, we should see the bean harvest reach the 95%+ status on the reports later today and corn between 85% and 90%," says market analyst Dan Hueber of The Hueber Report and the Center for Agriculture in Sycamore, Illinois. "Realistically for the market, harvest is pretty well wrapped up."

Looking ahead, forecasters say although there won't be the most comfortable conditions for running the combine, farmers should be able to make decent progress wrapping up the last 10% of their corn and soybeans, according to Matt Christy, meteorologist with Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Though temperatures will be sharply lower than normal, precipitation will be on the light side, too, through the week in the Plains and Corn Belt, which should allow the harvest finish line to get even closer.

"Temperatures will be much below normal [in the Corn Belt]. Precipitation will be below normal, except near normal far east. The rest of the week will be pretty dry, with frequent lake effect snow showers and a couple shots of flurries in the northwestern Corn Belt. Another system will move into the southern Corn Belt Friday night. Total snowfall will be 2 to 4 inches in Indiana, Ohio, and southern Michigan. Highs Monday and Tuesday will be mainly in the teens to 20s. Highs Wednesday will be in the teens to low 40s. Highs Thursday and Friday will be in the teens to 30s," Christy says. "Temperatures mainly will be much below normal [in the Plains]. Precipitation will be below normal everywhere except near normal in the southwestern Plains. Other than scattered flurries in the northern Plains, the only real chance of precipitation will be late Thursday to Friday, where .1 to .25 inches of rain will fall over the southeastern Plains. Highs Tuesday will be in the teens to 40s in the northern Plains and in the 30s to 50s in the southern Plains. Highs Wednesday will be in the teens to 30s in the northern Plains and in the 30s to near 60 in the southern Plains. Highs Thursday and Friday will be in the teens to 40s in the northern Plains and in the 40s to 60s in the southern Plains."


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