The seven days ending Oct. 13 brought heavy rains and a debilitating early blizzard to much of the Upper Midwest. As a result, area farmers made very little progress in an already disturbingly hate harvest.
The weekly crop progress report, released Oct. 15 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and reflecting conditions on Oct. 13, confirms that the miserable weather further hampered harvest.
For example, North Dakota farmers harvested 8% of their soybeans during the week; normally, they combine about a fifth of their crop in the second week of October.
That put them even further behind in harvest this fall. As of Oct. 6, they were 40 percentage points behind the normal harvest pace. As of Oct. 13, they were 51 percentage points behind.
Spring wheat - the harvest of which normally is wrapped up by October - is among the crops hurt by weeks of bad weather. Though spring wheat harvest is finished in South Dakota, 12% of Montana's crop, 7% of North Dakota's crop and 2% of Minnesota's spring wheat remains unharvested. Much or even most of the remaining spring wheat is unlikely to be harvested.
In a normal year, harvest of sugar beets, an important crop in western Minnesota and eastern North Dakota, is going strong in October. This fall, however, the uncooperative weather has greatly hampered beet harvest.
In North Dakota, 32% of beets was harvested by Oct. 13; the five-year average for that date is 77%. In Minnesota, 31% of beets was harvested by Oct. 13; the five-year average for that date is 71%.
The harvest of sunflowers, typically one of the last crops to be planted and harvested in the area, is under way but also is slowed by bad weather. South Dakota and North Dakota dominate U.S. production of the crop.
In North Dakota, 4% of sunflowers were harvested by Oct. 13; the five-year average for that date is 13%. No South Dakota sunflowers were harvested by Oct. 13; the five-year average for that date is 14%.
Here's a closer look at corn and soybeans.
Minnesota: 5% of corn was harvested by Oct. 13, down from the five-year average of 19%.
North Dakota: 1% of the crop was harvested by Oct. 13, compared with the five-year average of 12%.
South Dakota: 5% of corn was combined by Oct. 13; the five-year average is 19%.
North Dakota: 16% of soybeans was harvested on Oct. 13, down sharply from the five-year average of 67 percent.
South Dakota: 13% of beans was combined by Oct. 13, compared with the five-year average of 57%.
Minnesota: 19% of beans was harvested on Oct. 13, down from the five year-average of 62 percent.