Farmers across the Corn Belt took advantage of weather over the last week. Corn harvest advanced to 80 percent complete, on-pace with the five-year average, and just 10 percent of soybeans are left in the fields.
According to the USDA’s latest Crop Progress report, corn harvest progress jumped by 15 percentage points over the last week. With few exceptions, corn harvest is winding down for most of the Corn Belt.
In Iowa, the nation’s leading corn- and soybean-producing state, 82 percent of corn and 96 percent of soybeans are out of the fields.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey explained farmers in his state had nearly seven days suitable for fieldwork, and they took advantage of every minute they had.
“Phenomenal harvest progress has been made the past two weeks and farmers are now nearly on pace with the five-year average, with 82 percent of the corn and 96 percent of soybeans out of the field,” Northey said in a news release here. “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 percent of corn as a result of the weather challenges.”
Though most states are within reach of wrapping up the 2014 corn harvest, two states in particular have struggled against Mother Nature – Michigan (43 percent) and Wisconsin (50 percent). Both states are at least 18 percentage points behind their five-year average. Click here for the full Crop Progress report.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture reports farmers “scrambled” this week to get fieldwork done before winter weather interrupted fieldwork. The storm dropped as much as 11 inches of snow across portions of the northern Corn Belt earlier this week.
Chad Hart, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University, told the Associated Press in an article here that while corn can withstand below-freezing temperatures, deep snow could delay harvest.
"A foot of snow is hard to slog through and tractors might dig in and get stuck in mud. That could mean some delays” Hart explained.
Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the USDA, says that mature corn can withstand cold temperatures and remain in fields for prolonged periods, but it may be susceptible to damage from wind, heavy snow and wildlife. Farmers may see a reduction in harvest if cornstalks topple or ears of corn get knocked from stalks. Read, “Snow Could Reduce Corn Harvest in Upper Midwest.”
Looking ahead, USDA reporters in Wisconsin in particular have their concerns about the progress farmers can make over the next seven to 10 days.
“With substantial snow and much colder weather in the forecast, reporters were concerned about the amount of corn and soybeans still to be harvested and the amount of manure still to be spread,” the Wisconsin Crop Progress said. “Several reporters noted farmers working through the night to clear fields while conditions allowed.”