Attention turns to corn, harvest pace lags

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Upper Midwest corn farmers know from experience that sometimes they need to harvest their crop in less-than-ideal conditions late in the calendar year. Though it's not particularly late yet, that could happen again this year to some area producers.

The latest weekly crop progress report, released Oct. 30 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, shows the corn harvests in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota continue to lag their respective five-year averages. The report reflected conditions on Oct. 29.

But the report also showed that farmers in the three states made considerable progress harvesting corn during the week ending Oct. 22.

In North Dakota, 37 percent of corn was harvested on Oct. 29, up from 17 percent a week earlier. The five-year average for Oct. 29 was 58 percent harvested, however.

In South Dakota, 35 percent of corn was harvested on Oct. 29, up from 19 percent a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 66 percent for Oct. 29.

In Minnesota, 38 percent of corn was off on Oct. 29, up from 14 percent a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 73 percent for Oct. 29.

The corn harvest pace in most other top corn-producing states also trails its five-year average, according to the report.

On the brighter side, the Upper Midwest's soybean, sunflower and sugar beet harvests are going relatively well, the NASS report finds.

Here's a look at the bean, sunflower and sugar beet numbers:

Soybeans

South Dakota — Ninety-six percent of beans were harvested on Oct. 29, compared with the five-year average of 95 percent.

Minnesota — Ninety-five percent of soybeans were off on Oct. 29, compared with the five-year average of 97 percent.

North Dakota — Ninety-six percent of soybeans were harvested on Oct. 29. The five-year average is 94 percent.

Sugar beets

Minnesota — Ninety-eight percent of beets were off on Oct. 29, compared with the five-year average of 95 percent.

North Dakota — Ninety-eight percent of sugar beets were harvested on Oct. 29. The five-year average is 97 percent.

Sunflowers

North Dakota — Fifty-seven percent of sunflowers were harvested on Oct. 29, compared with the five-year average of 51 percent.

South Dakota — Fifty-one percent of flowers were off on Oct. 29, compared with the five-year average of 59 percent.