Farmers harvested 15% of the U.S. corn
Farmers showing more interest in harvesting corn versus soybeans
--Soybean harvest moves at a faster-than-expected clip
CHICAGO--U.S. farmers are harvesting corn and soybeans at a faster pace than normal for this time of year, because crop development is ahead of schedule, according to a government report.
Farmers had harvested 15% of the nation's corn crop as of Sunday, which is 10 percentage points ahead of the five-year average for that time of year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's weekly crop-progress report Monday.
Meanwhile, 4% of the country's soybean crop had been harvested, which is two percentage points above average, the USDA report showed.
Traders had expected the corn harvest to be about 14% to 16% complete and the soybean harvest to be about 1% to 2% complete.
Crops are developing more quickly than usual because farmers planted corn and soybeans earlier than normal during the spring due to warm weather. Also, the hot weather this summer in the Farm Belt has led to faster crop development.
Farmers, who are grappling with the nation's worst drought in decades, are showing more interest in harvesting corn compared with soybeans. Futures prices for both crops are trading near record highs.
"The corn crop is developed ahead of average, and the crop is drying quickly across the Midwest," said Shawn McCambridge, senior grains analyst with Jefferies Bache in Chicago. "Farmers are showing a sense of urgency in harvesting corn, unwilling to risk field losses from weather threats."
For instance, farmers are concerned that severe thunderstorms with high winds could push over corn stalks weakened by the drought.
Traders are paying close attention to the pace of the harvests because inventories of corn and soybeans remain historically tight. Users of the crops, such as livestock farmers and grain-processing companies, are waiting for farmers to bring in fresh supplies from the fields to boost inventories.
The corn crop is now 58% mature, up from 41% last week and above the five-year average of 27%, the USDA said.
Soybean harvests are moving at a faster-than-expected clip. Analysts had expected a smaller percentage increase in the past week due to heavy rains in the central and eastern Midwest.
Thunderstorms dropped 1 to 2.5 inches of rain and locally heavier amounts through southeast Illinois and parts of Indiana and Ohio on Friday, meteorologists at private forecaster Telvent DTN Weather reported Monday.
For soybeans, the proportion of the U.S. crop rated in good-to-excellent condition was 32% as of Sunday, up two percentage points from last week, the USDA said. The proportion of the crop in poor-to-very-poor condition dropped one percentage point to 36%, reflecting slight improvement in conditions.
Meanwhile, 36% of the soybean crop was dropping leaves as of Sunday, 16 percentage points above normal.
Farmers in the central and southern Great Plains are slowly planting winter wheat for harvest next spring and summer. The crop was 4% planted, two percentage points behind normal. Planting was one percentage point behind average in Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma, with 2%, 3% and 3% of the crop planted in the states, respectively...
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.