September 24, 2012

Crop update: Nebraska's corn crop 36% harvested

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said today that 36 percent of Nebraska's corn crop was in the bin as of yesterday. That's up from 23 percent harvested last week -- and well ahead of the 5 percent harvested last year at this time and the 5 percent harvested for the five-year average.

USDA said 87 percent of the state's crop was mature, up from 74 percent last week and 43 percent last year. The five-year average for this week is 46 percent mature.
It said 98 percent of the crop is dented, up from 93 percent last week, 85 percent last year and 83 percent for the average.

USDA rated 33 percent of Nebraska's corn crop in good to excellent condition, 26 percent was rated fair and 42 percent poor to very poor.

Nationally, 39 percent of the country's corn crop was harvested, up from 26 percent last week. A year ago 12 percent of the crop was harvested by this date, while the five-year average is 13 percent harvested.

USDA said 88 percent of the country's crop was mature, compared to 76 percent last week, 58 percent last year and 57 percent for the average.

Crop conditions changed slightly this week to last with 21 percent of the nation's corn crop rated good to excellent, 25 percent fair (down 1 point) and 51 percent poor to very poor (up 1 pint).

The drought and high temperatures, of course, are behind the significant head start farmers have in harvesting corn this year, as corn just got planted early and progressed rapidly.

Reports from the field indicate a mixed bag of yields. While farmers who could irrigate are seeing generally positive yield numbers, dry land acres are highly variable. Since 89 percent of the country's corn crop receives only rainfall, yields vary significantly based on soil types and if a stray rain shower moved through at the right time.

In fact, yields may go from 200 bushels per acre to 50 to 0 all in one pass along a field. While some variability is expected, the drought has pushed it to the extreme.

This week's photos come from the Nebraska Corn Board's 2012 crop progress photo set at Flickr. The top photo was taken by the Imperial FFA chapter and the one below it by the Norris FFA chapter. While it may look the different combine brands are lining up for a race, they are idling after helping harvest plot tests.

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