Corn harvest speeds ahead as Isaac lurks on horizon

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Though farmers are continuing to make headway with the 2012 corn harvest, progress may come to a crawl by the weekend as the remnants of Tropical Storm Isaac creep across the nation’s heartland.

Ahead of this rain-producing system, the USDA’s latest Crop Progress report showed that 6 percent of the nation's corn crop has now been harvested. 

Corn harvest going strong
About one-fourth of the nation’s corn is mature, with 76 percent dented. Looking at the past 27 years of Crop Progress reports, last week’s report was the earliest in the season that harvest has been reported.

The progress continued with 11 states reporting progress in the early harvest season:

Percentage of corn harvested

 

--Week Ending--

 

 

Aug. 26, 2011

Aug. 19, 2012

Aug. 26, 2012

2007- 2011 Average

U.S.

2

4

6

2

Illinois

1

3

6

1

Indiana

-

-

2

-

Iowa

-

-

2

-

Kansas

7

17

25

3

Kentucky

-

11

25

3

Missouri

5

18

32

3

Nebraska

-

1

4

-

North Carolina

28

7

15

11

Pennsylvania

-

-

1

-

Tennessee

6

18

33

7

Texas

52

51

56

50

See how your state is doing here.

Despite progress in harvest, the condition of the corn crop fell slightly from last week’s report:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

This week

26

26

26

19

3

Last week

26

25

26

20

3

Last year

7

12

27

42

12

Aug. 28, 1988

12

34

36

15

3

click image to zoomCrop ConditionsSource: USDA Crop Progress Ten states saw an increase in corn rated in poor to very poor condition from last week’s report, with South Dakota noting the largest jump from 44 percent to 55 percent rated poor to very poor. Illinois and Kentucky also reported notable increases, climbing 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

Though the drought is now the most severe since 1956, many have compared it to the drought of 1988. The percentages of corn rated in poor to very poor condition are similar, though conditions from 1988 were generally more severe throughout June and the first half of July than in 2012.

The graph to the right compares the percentage of corn in poor to very poor condition from both years. This week marks the first report surpassing the severity of 1988’s crop conditions.

Soybean conditions shift slightly
Soybeans are progressing, with nearly all have set pods and 8 percent dropping leaves. Conditions degraded slightly this past week, with the amount of crop in "good" to "excellent" condition shifting by 1 percentage point:

 

Very Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

This week

17

21

32

26

4

Last week

16

21

32

27

4

Last year

5

10

28

44

13


Overall, the soybean crops is faring better than corn. Dale Durcholz, a crop and marketing expert for AgriVisor, a division of the Illinois Farm Bureau Association, told Reuters that rain from Tropical Storm Isaac could help some late season soybeans.  

Hurricane IsaacNOAATropical Storm Isaac path, as of Aug. 27 "It will help soybean seed size. If the soybean plant is still green there will be some benefit," Durcholz told Reuters in an article available here.

How much rain from Isaac?
Tropical Storm Isaac will likely strengthen into a hurricane as it churns over the Gulf early this week, and landfall is expected along the Louisiana coastline early on Wednesday morning. 

The remnants of the powerful storm will slowly creep northward later this week and through the weekend, drenching at least some areas in key corn- and soybean-producing states with a much need, drought-denting rain.  

Midwest states in the path of this storm system right now include Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, and Illinois, though as forecasters adjust the projected track of Isaac in the Gulf, the possible impacted states will also change. 

Right now Arkansas will likely receive up to 4 inches of rain, the most rain forecast thus far in the week. Most states will likely see just a few inches of rain, which won’t end the drought but will make a dent in its impact.  Read more here.



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