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Which states are done with 2022 soybean harvest?

Dry weather has allowed for abnormally fast soybean harvest across the country. Farmers in Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, and North Dakota have 100% of their beans out of the field, USDA reported Monday.

Louisiana

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) says there were 5.6 days suitable for fieldwork in Louisiana the week ending Sunday, Nov. 6. Farmers in the state got the last 2% of their soybean crops harvested, wrapping up the season ahead of the five-year average. Last year at this time, soybean harvest was 97% complete in Louisiana.

Winter wheat planting and emergence is also ahead of normal in the state. USDA reported 41% of winter wheat is in the ground, a surge from 19% the week prior. Last year at this time, just 25% of the winter wheat crop had been planted. The five-year average is 38%.

Winter wheat emergence also shot up the week ending Nov. 6. USDA reported 18% of the crop has emerged, up from 1% the week prior. Last year at this time 13% of Louisiana’s winter wheat had emerged. The five-year average is 17%.

Although the wheat crop is off to a strong start, dry conditions continue to present challenges. In Monday’s Crop Progress Report, topsoil moisture supplies were rated 25% very short, 43% short, 32% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 21% very short, 46% short, 33% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Map of Louisiana drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Drought Monitor published Nov. 3 indicated 100% of the state faces moisture stress of some degree. Three pockets of D2 severe drought cover 15% of the Bayou State.

Of the state’s 64 counties, 60 have USDA disaster designations.

Minnesota

A lack of precipitation continued in Minnesota, giving farmers 6.1 days suitable for fieldwork and allowing soybean harvest to cross the finish line. Last year at this time, soybean harvest was 99% complete. The five-year average is 95%.

Farmers also made significant progress harvesting corn for grain, with harvested rates surging from 80% to 92% the week ending Nov. 6. Last year at this time, 91% of Minnesota’s corn crop had been harvested. The five-year average is 75%. The local NASS office reported, “Corn moisture content of grain at harvest averaged 16%.”

Like Louisiana, there’s no surplus soil moisture in Minnesota. On Monday, topsoil moisture supplies were rated 23% very short, 40% short, 37% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies were rated 19% very short, 39% short, 42% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Map of Minnesota drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

Nearly half the state is suffering from D1 moderate drought, or worse, according to the Nov. 3 drought monitor. D3 extreme drought stretches across portions of 18 southern Minnesota counties.

Of the state’s 87 counties, 18 have USDA disaster designations.

Map of Minnesota fire danger
Photo credit: Minnesota DNR

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says portions of 16 counties are at “high” risk of fire danger.

“Don’t believe that cooler fall weather cancels out fire danger,” warns Karen Harrison, Minnesota DNR wildfire prevention specialist.

Nebraska

Dry weather persisted in Nebraska, giving farmers 6.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Soybean harvest finished faster than normal, ahead of the 95% five-year average.

Agricultural Extension climatologist Al Dutcher says there’s two reasons for that. 

First, harvest wasn’t interrupted by precipitation. Data from the Iowa Environmental Mesonet shows precipitation totals have been as much as 16 inches below normal since Aug. 1 in Nebraska.

Nebraksa map of precipitation departure from normal in fall 2022
Photo credit: Iowa Environmental Mesonet

Second, it doesn’t take as long to harvest lower yields. Dutcher says, “When you’re harvesting 35 to 40 bushel beans compared to 60 or 70 bushel beans, it goes pretty rapidly.”

The same factors have played into Nebraska corn and sorghum harvest, Dutcher points out.

On Monday, USDA said 90% of the state’s corn harvested for grain is out of the field. That’s up from 80% the week prior, and well ahead of the 75% five-year average.

Nebraska sorghum harvest is 87% complete, 10% ahead of the 77% five-year average.

From row crops to pasture conditions and livestock feed, persistent drought is challenging Nebraksa agriculture.

“We’ve got a real problem. If you look at the statistics, it’s just not good. There’s no other way to sugarcoat it,” Dutcher says. On Monday, 77% of the state’s pastures were rated very poor to poor. He noted the 4% good and 1% excellent pasture ratings are likely in southeast Nebraska, not “cattle country” on the western side of the state.

“We’ve been floating now for the better part of eight weeks between 70% or 75% up to the upper 80s very poor to poor pasture ratings,” Dutcher explains. “Barring major blizzard activity, these conditions are going to continue all the way into spring. That means we’re going to have some problems with feed.”

Map of Nebraska drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

As of the Nov. 3 drought report, 100% of the state is facing moisture stress of some degree. D4 exceptional drought is present across more than 11% of Nebraska. D3 extreme drought stretches from the southwest to northeast corners, spanning almost 40% of the state. D2 severe drought consumes more than 32% of Nebraska. Nearly 16% of the state is suffering from D1 moderate drought.

USDA rated topsoil moisture supplies 46% very short, 38% short, 16% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 51% very short, 37% short, 12% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Of Nebraska’s 93 counties, 73 have USDA disaster designations.

So far, 2022 is the 6th driest year of the past 128 years.

North Dakota

Farmers in North Dakota had 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork the week ending Nov. 6. Soybean harvest was completed significantly ahead of schedule last week. The five-year average for this point in the season is 89%.

Corn harvest progress is even further ahead of the normal pace. Corn harvest reached 91% complete, 30% ahead of the 59% five-year average. Last year at this time corn harvest was 80% complete.

Like many other top soybean producing states, soil moisture in North Dakota is lacking. On Monday, topsoil moisture supplies were rated 26% very short, 45% short, 28% adequate, and 1% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 22% very short, 50% short, 27% adequate, and 1% surplus.

Map of North Dakota drought conditions
Photo credit: U.S. Drought Monitor

The Nov. 3 drought report indicated almost 40% of North Dakota is suffering from D2 severe drought. D1 moderate drought covers more than half of the state. Nearly 8% of the state is abnormally dry. There isn’t a single county in the state without moisture stress.

Of North Dakota’s 53 counties, 5 have USDA disaster designations.

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