September brings shorter, generally cooler days, as well as dew that stays longer in the morning and arrives earlier in the evening.

Those things are working against area farmers, who need warm, dry conditions to get into soggy fields and combine wet wheat and also to boost the late development of still-maturing crops.

The weekly crop progress report, reflecting conditions as of Sunday, Sept. 15, and released Monday, Sept. 16, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, confirms that the wheat harvest remains far behind schedule. The report also finds that corn and soybeans overall are much less advanced than normal.

Two examples: Only 73% of North Dakota's spring wheat was combined as of Sept. 15; the five-year average for that date is 91%. And only 2% of Minnesota's corn crop had reached maturity by Sept. 15; the five-year average for that date is 23%.

The harvest pace of oats and barley also is lagging in much of the Upper Midwest.

One bright spot: Harvest of sugar beets, an important crop in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, is at its five-year average in both states.

Here's a closer look at wheat, corn and soybeans, the region's three major crops.

Spring wheat

Montana: Just 69% of spring wheat was harvested as of Sept. 15, down from the five-year average of 91% for that date.

Minnesota: 83% of the crop was harvested as of Sept. 15, compared with the five-year average of 95%.

North Dakota: 73% of the crop was combined on Sept. 15, compared with the five-year average of 91%.

South Dakota: 96% of spring wheat was harvested on Sept. 15; the five-year average was 98%.

Corn

Minnesota: 2% of corn had reached maturity by Sept. 15, compared with the five-year average of 23%; 52% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

North Dakota: 3% of the crop had reached maturity by Sept.15, compared with the five-year average of 22%; 74% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair, poor or very poor.

South Dakota: 6% of corn had reached maturity by Sept. 15, compared with the five-year average of 26%; 69% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

Soybeans

North Dakota: 42% of soybeans had dropped leaves by Sept. 15, compared with the five-year average of 64%; 64% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

South Dakota: Only 9% of soybeans had dropped leaves by Sept. 15, down from the five-year average of 51%. That reflects an exceptionally wet spring, which delayed soybean planting in the state this spring. There was 65% of the crop in good or excellent condition, the rest fair to very poor.

Minnesota: 14% of soybeans had dropped leaves by Sept. 15, down from the five-year average of 38%; 55% of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.