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Wheat harvest slowly gains steam but pace continues to lag

The region's wheat harvest may not have been at full steam in mid August, but it definitely was picking up speed. Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota farmers had combined meaningful amounts of spring wheat, though the harvest pace was well below normal.

The weekly crop progress report, released Aug. 12 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, or NASS, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shows progress in the wheat harvest.

The report reflected conditions as of Aug. 11.

NASS numbers this growing season have shown consistently that wheat generally has fared better than corn and soybeans, the region's two other major crops, during the challenging 2019 crop season. Some early, anecdotal reports on wheat yields have been encouraging.

Corn and soybean development remains considerably less advanced than normal, the result of planting delays this spring, increasing the need for cooperative fall weather. Generally, wheat is planted and harvested first, corn second and soybeans third.

Here's a closer look at the NASS report.

Spring wheat

Montana: 10% of the crop was harvested as of Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 26% for that date.

Minnesota: 8% of spring wheat was harvested as of Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 33% for that date.

North Dakota: 5% of the crop was harvested as of Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 23% for that date.

South Dakota: 10% of the crop was combined as of Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 61%.

Corn

The dough stage is when the corn kernel's milky inner fluid begins to change to doughy consistency.

Minnesota: 30% of corn had reached dough stage as of Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 57% for that date; 56% of corn was rated good or excellent on Aug. 11, the rest fair to very poor.

North Dakota: 7% of the crop had reached dough stage as of Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 35% for that date; 71% was in good or excellent condition on Aug. 11, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 25% of corn had reached dough stage as of Aug. 11, down from the five-year average of 51%; 64% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

Soybeans

North Dakota: 62% had set pods by Aug. 11, down the five-year average of 82% for that date; 62% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: 47% had set pods by Aug. 11, compared with the five-year average of 76%; 53% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

Minnesota: 74% had set pods on Aug. 11, down from the five-year average of 84%; 59% of the crop was in good or excellent condition, the rest fair to very poor.

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