Farmers are maintaining momentum as corn harvest progress flirts with 70 percent, though wetter weather could slow progress by the weekend. In its weekly update, the USDA showed in its latest Crop Progress report that corn harvest is now at 69 percent complete, just shy of meeting trader expectations.

"They've been going gangbusters harvesting - we're expecting corn harvest 70 to 75 percent complete this afternoon and 65 percent for bean harvest," a Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) grain industry source told Reuters.

The 2012 corn harvest continues to shatter records and is again setting a course to put the year’s harvest into the history books.  

Currently, the nation is nearly a month ahead of the 26-year harvest average dating to the Crop Progress’ inception in 1985. Few years come close to matching 2012’s record pace:

Report Date

Harvest Progress

October 9, 2012

69 percent

October 12, 2010

51 percent

October 10, 2000

50 percent

October 6, 1991

49 percent

October 9, 1988

48 percent

26-year average (1985-2011)

30 percent

Click here to access archived Crop Progress data

All of the top 18 corn-producing states made impressive advancement in harvest corn, with North Dakota making the biggest jump from 36 percent last week to 63 percent this week. Other states with notable gains include Minnesota (25 percentage points), South Dakota (23 percentage points), and Iowa (20 percent).

Click here to see how your state is doing.

The USDA will release the next crop production estimate on Thursday, and analysts with Doane’s Agriculture Report expect the government to again drop crop production from the September estimate at 10.7 billion bushels, to 10.4 billion bushels. They also expect the USDA to lower the yield to 121.1 bushels per acre from 122.8 bushels last month. Harvested acreage will likely be revised lower as well, to 86.2 million acres - down 1.2 million from the previous estimate.

Soybeans zoom past 50 percent
Though many eyes are on the nation’s corn, progress was also made with soybean harvest.

Currently 58 percent of the nation’s soybeans have been harvested, which also falls short of CBOT expectations. However, this week’s advancement puts the 2012 harvest 18 percentage points above the five-year average.

Individually, five of the top soybean-producing states reported at or below their state’s progress last year. Kansas is currently 12 percentage points behind 2011’s report. Other states struggling from last year’s pace include Missouri, Louisiana, South Dakota and North Carolina.  

Wetter weather ahead
Next week’s Crop Progress could show a slight slowdown from the nation’s producers as a wetter weather pattern develops. According to Don Keeney, meteorologist for MDA EarthSat Weather, the entire Midwest could receive between 1 to 3 inches of rain, starting Saturday and lasting through the end of next week. Keeney expects the heaviest rains to be in Missouri, eastern Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.