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Crop progress: Corn harvest still sluggish

Getty/iStockphoto Corn harvest in autumn
Soybean harvest also behind schedule as October begins

USDA’s newest crop progress report, out Monday afternoon and covering the week through October 2, featured updates on this year’s corn and soybean harvests, plus gave crop quality updates for each crop. Both corn and soybeans saw minor shifts in quality ratings. USDA also provided updates for 2022/23 winter wheat plantings, which are progressing four points slower than the prior five-year average.

Corn quality ratings showed minor changes from a week ago. Although 52% is still rated in good-to-excellent condition, the split moved from 42/10 last week to 43/9 as of October 2. Analysts were not expecting to see any quality shifts this week. Another 27% is rated fair (unchanged from last week), with the remaining 21% rated poor or very poor (also unchanged from last week).

Physiologically, 96% of the crop is dented, up from 92% a week ago and one point behind the prior five-year average of 97%. And 75% is fully mature, up from 58% last week and identical to the prior five-year average.

Harvest progress moved from 12% last week to 20% through Sunday. Analysts were generally expecting to see a bit more progress, with an average trade guess of 22%. That puts this year’s pace five points behind 2021’s pace of 27%, but it’s identical to the prior five-year average.

Soybean quality ratings were also largely steady last week. Fifty-five percent remains in good-to-excellent condition, matching last week’s tally. Another 29% is rated fair (down one point from a week ago), with the remaining 16% rated poor or very poor (up one point from a week ago).

Physiologically, 81% of the crop is now dropping leaves. That’s behind 2021’s pace of 84% but ahead of the prior five-year average of 79%. Harvest pace is slightly ahead of analyst expectations, moving from 8% a week ago to 22% through October 2. That’s still behind 2021’s pace of 31% and the prior five-year average of 25%, however.

Winter wheat plantings for the 2022/23 season moved from 31% a week ago to 40% through October 2, putting this year’s effort behind both 2021’s pace of 45% as well as the prior five-year average of 44%. Fifteen percent of the crop is now emerged, up from 9% a week ago and also behind the prior five-year average of 17%.

Click here for more data from the latest USDA crop progress report, including updates on sorghum, sunflowers, cotton and more.

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