Upper Midwest farmers made some harvest progress in the week ending Oct. 20. But their gains were far less than they wanted and needed, especially in North Dakota.
The weekly crop progress report, reflecting conditions Oct. 20 and released Oct. 21 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that the already-delayed harvest remains far behind schedule.
New harvest progress was particularly slow in North Dakota, which generally was hit harder than neighboring states by an exceptionally early October blizzard.
That was most evident with soybeans. North Dakota farmers harvested just 4% of their beans during the week, with South Dakota producers combining 20% of their beans and Minnesota farmers harvesting 23% of their soybean crop.
But Minnesota and South Dakota farmers, like their North Dakota counterparts, made little progress harvesting corn. North Dakota farmers combined 3% of their corn during the week, while South Dakota farmers harvested just 4% of their corn and Minnesota farmers combined only 6% of their corn crop.
The area's sunflower and sugar beet harvests also are far behind schedule.
North Dakota farmers have harvested 6% of their sunflowers; the five-year average is 27%. South Dakota producers have harvested 5% of their sunflowers; the five-year average is 28%. The two states dominate U.S production of the crop.
Sugar beets are an important crop in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. In Minnesota, farmers have harvested 47% of their beets; the five-year average is 86%. In North Dakota, 41% of beets were harvested; the five-year average is 91%.
Another concern is the Upper Midwest spring wheat crop, harvest of which should have been wrapped up weeks ago. As of Oct. 20, however, 8% of Montana spring wheat was unharvested, with 5% of North Dakota spring wheat and 1% of Minnesota spring wheat still in fields. South Dakota has completed its spring wheat harvest.
Here's a closer look at corn and soybean as of Oct. 20:
Minnesota: 11% of corn was harvested, compared with the five-year average of 35% for Oct. 20.
North Dakota: 4% of corn was combined, down from the five-year average of 24%.
South Dakota: 9% of corn was harvested, compared with the five-year average of 29%.
North Dakota: 20% of soybeans was combined, down from the five-year average of 81%.
South Dakota: 33% of beans was harvested, compared with the five-year average of 76%.
Minnesota: 42% of the crop was harvested, down from the five-year average of 81%.