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'Record-fast' harvest pace

I feel pretty confident in my prediction that the USDA will show record-fast soybean harvest progress in their numbers this afternoon. A 63 percent completion mark would match the record-fast, October 10 pace of 2000, and I think that the actual figure this afternoon will be 65 percent.

That would mean that 28 percent of the national soybean crop was harvested just last week, which would match 2006 as the biggest one-week gain ever recorded (in 2006 that occurred for the week ending October 8). I would look for the corn harvest progress figure this afternoon to be at 51 percent done, the fourth fastest on record, but we will see a big jump in that figure for next week's report as farmers start to concentrate all of their efforts on the corn harvest this week amidst continued dry weather.

This still looks to be one amazingly dry weather pattern for the Corn Belt and nearby areas. Most of the western Corn Belt will get little or nothing for rainfall for the rest of this week, with rains in the east well under a half inch (and plenty of places there also getting nothing). There is uncertainty in the 6-10 day outlook, but right now I would lean towards once again very little rain in the Corn Belt in that period.

The northern Plains and the Delta look similarly dry. As mentioned though, there is uncertainly in the 6-10 day time frame, as that looks to be a period when we will have to deal with a closed upper level low pressure system (a weather feature that is typically handled very poorly by weather models in the longer range). My thoughts right now is that the rains from that system will primarily be over southwestern parts of the Nation, and we could (emphasize "could") see some of that rain working into the drier areas of western hard-red winter wheat belt for about Tuesday of next week.

Dry weather concerns look to continue though for the next ten days for major soft-red winter wheat areas of the Nation.

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