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Harvest focus is on corn, sunflowers

Most of the Upper Midwest's soybean crop is harvested. The same can't be said of corn and sunflowers.

Large amounts of corn and sunflowers remain in fields, though considerable progress has been made on soybeans, according to the weekly crop report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report, released Nov. 18, reflects conditions as of Nov. 17.

The harvest pace remains particularly slow in North Dakota, much of which was hit by an early October blizzard. Only 23% of the state's corn crop was harvested on Nov. 17, compared with the five-year average of 85% for that date.

The region's soybean harvest, though also delayed, fares better. For example, 97% of Minnesota soybeans was combined on Nov. 17, up from 91% a week earlier but down slightly from the Nov. 17 five-year average of 99%.

The harvest of sunflowers, an important crop in both South Dakota and North Dakota, lags, too.

Just 34% of North Dakota sunflowers was combined on Nov. 17, up from 31% a week earlier and down from the five-year average of 84%.

In South Dakota, 49% of sunflowers was harvested on Nov. 17, up from 47% a week earlier and down from the five-year average of 83%.

The latest crop progress report gives a mixed picture on winter wheat, which is planted in the fall, goes dormant in winter and resumes growing in the spring.

In Montana, 65% of winter wheat is rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor. But just 74% has emerged, down from the five-year average of 95%.

In South Dakota, 76% of winter wheat is in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor; 99% of the crop has emerged, compared with the five-year average of 97%.

Here's a closer look at the corn and soybean harvest:

Corn

Minnesota: 77% of the crop was harvested as of Nov. 17, up from 63% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 94%.

North Dakota: 23% of the crop was harvested as of Nov. 17, up from 15% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 85%.

South Dakota: 53% of corn was combined as of Nov. 17, up from 39% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 91%.

Soybeans

North Dakota: 84% of soybeans was harvested as of Nov. 17, up from 74% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 98%.

South Dakota: 95% of beans was harvested as of Nov. 17, up from 91% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 99%.

Minnesota: 97% of soybeans was combined as of Nov. 17, up from 91% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 99%.

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