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A combine harvests a field of corn south of Salem, S.D., last week in McCook County. South Dakota is well behind schedule for harvesting corn and soybeans in the 2019 harvest. (Matt Gade / Forum News Service)

More cooperative harvest weather needed

Many Upper Midwest farmers would give thanks this year for cooperative early winter harvest weather. Though harvest progress is being made, large amounts of corn and sunflowers remain in fields, according to the latest weekly crop progress report from the federal government.

The report, reflecting conditions Nov. 24, was released Nov. 25 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

North Dakota, much of which was hit by an exceptionally early blizzard in October that followed heavy rains in late August and September, remains the biggest trouble spot for harvest delays. On Nov. 24, 51% of the state had excess topsoil moisture. Reflecting that, only 30% of corn in the state was combined on Nov. 24, up from 23% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 91% for Nov.24

Sunflower harvest also is delayed in both North Dakota and South Dakota; the two states dominate U.S. production of the crop.

In South Dakota, 60% of the sunflower crop was harvested on Nov. 24, up from 49% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 89%. In North Dakota, 41% was harvested on Nov. 24, up from 34% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 90%.

The unusual fall and early winter have affected the winter wheat crop in Montana, as well. Winter wheat is planted in the fall, goes dormant in winter and resumes growing in the spring.

Only 81% of Montana's winter wheat had emerged on Nov. 24, up from 75% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 96%. Two-thirds (68%) of the crop was rated good or excellent, the rest fair to very poor.

All of South Dakota's winter wheat had emerged on Nov 24; 78% of the crop was in good or excellent shape, the rest fair to very poor.

Here's a closer look at corn and soybeans:

Corn

Minnesota — 86% of corn in the state was combined on Nov 24, up from 77% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 97%.

North Dakota — 30% of the crop was harvested on Nov 24, up from 23% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 91%.

South Dakota — 68% of the crop was harvested on Nov. 24, up from 53% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 96%.

Soybeans

North Dakota — 89% of the crop was combined on Nov. 24, up from 84% a week earlier but down from the five-year average of 99%.

South Dakota — 99% of the crop was harvested on Nov. 24, up from 95% a week earlier and down slightly from the five-year average of 100%.

Minnesota — 98% of the crop was harvested on Nov. 24, up from 97% a week earlier and down slightly from the five-year average of 100%.

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