Farmers continue to work well into December as they trudge toward completion of the slowest harvest in 35 years. The USDA reports that while some areas are either complete or approaching completion, many others still have corn in the fields.
During the week ending Dec. 11, the national corn harvest moved only 4 percentage points closer to completion, a 4.5% increase from the previous week. Nationwide, the corn harvest is now roughly 92% complete. This lags behind the five-year average of almost 100% at this time in December.
"Due to persistence and hard work, farmers will overcome the challenges of this harvest as they always have in the past," said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Chairman Bob Dickey, a farmer in Laurel, NE. "We were fortunate to have favorable weather in November that allowed us to catch up after a slow October. While snow drifts may prevent some farmers from my area from getting in end rows and rows near the edge of the fields, hopefully the vast majority of the harvest will be concluded soon."
At this point, only North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas report a completed harvest. South Dakota showed the most progress as farmers moved the needle 9 percentage points from 73% to 82% complete.
Progress in North Dakota is significantly behind the national average at only 60% complete. As bitterly cold temperatures and occasional snows besiege the area, it becomes increasingly evident that many farmers will have to wait until spring to complete harvest.
"While we made a little progress over the past few weeks in North Dakota, a third of the crop is still left in the field," said NCGA Corn First Vice President Bart Schott of Kulm, ND. "With the Canadian cold front dropping temperatures to -18° F, growers here are out of the fields until this weather passes. Once more normal temperatures resume, the majority of growers do plan to continue their efforts to get the corn crop in this winter as, luckily, we missed last week's snow event. Here, you learn to adapt and never give up."