US farmers received a warning over the threat of dryness to
2013 crops even as a dearth of rain helped a record-fast harvesting campaign of
crops which, in soybeans' case, are showing a late revival in condition.
Growers harvested 13% of their corn last week to get 39% of
their crop in silos as of Sunday, three times the proportion they have normally
reaped by now, US Department of Agriculture data showed.
For soybeans too, the harvest progressed at a record pace,
reaching 22% complete, up 12 points over the week, and ahead of the typical figure
of 12% of the crop in the barn at this time of year.
The progress reflected, besides early crop development
speeded by early sowings and in some cases drought stress, dry conditions which
allowed field work to continue largely unimpeded.
Iowa, the top corn and soybean producing state, "experienced
little rain during the week resulting in ideal harvest conditions for farmers,"
USDA officials said, noting that a few farmers completed their corn harvests.
In second-ranked Illinois, "cool, dry weather across much of
the state allowed for producers to continue their rapid pace for corn and
soybean harvest," USDA scouts said.
'Perpetuates a very
However, the dryness is provoking too the threat of this year's
drought conditions extending to affect 2013 crops too, crop weather expert Gail
Martell at Martell Crop Projections.
"The dry weather promoting harvesting perpetuates a very
serious drought," she said, flagging soil moisture deficits of six-to-nine inches built
up over the past three months.
Selected corn harvest progress, by state
Missouri: 80% completed, (14% in week to September 23)
South Dakota: 36% completed, (17% in week)
Iowa: 37% completed, (15% in week)
Illinois: 54% completed, (18% in week)
US total: 39% completed, (13% in week)
"North-central US is extremely dry in key corn states Iowa,
Nebraska and Minnesota. Surrounding farmland also is exceptionally dry in
northern Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, and eastern parts of South and North
"To put this into perspective, Iowa would need 50%
above-normal rainfall in the seven months October through April to completely
restore field moisture for spring planting in 2013."
Wheat sowings lag
Indeed, dry weather has been blamed in part for a slight lag
in winter wheat sowings behind the average pace, reaching 25% complete as of
Sunday, two points below the typical figure for this time of year, even though many
farmers are taking a chance on planting into dry soils.
In Colorado, winter wheat seedings were 12 points behind the
average pace despite plantings which the USDA said "progressed at a rapid pace
last week", with South Dakota sowings 15 points behind.
Selected soybean harvest progress, by state
North Dakota: 56% completed, (28% in week to September 23)
South Dakota: 47% completed, (32% in week)
Minnesota: 45% completed, (29% in week)
Iowa: 23% completed, (15% in week)
US total: 22% completed, (12% in week)
In Nebraska, where plantings were running 12 points behind the
average pace "winter wheat seeding was nearing the half-way point but fields
were slow to emerge due to dry soil conditions".
Rabobank analysts said 40% of area earmarked for US hard red winter wheat plantings received less than 50% of average rainfall in the month to September 20, posing "a risk to the establishment of the crop".
Nonetheless, the crop progress data showed another threat to
crops, from the first frosts of the 2012-13 winter, failing to register crop
Indeed, in South Dakota, which witnessed the "first
widespread, hard freeze to the north eastern part of the state", soybeans
improved by two points over the week to 27% in "good" or "excellent" health.
In neighbouring North Dakota, where "widespread frost occurred
in many areas last week", the proportion of soybeans in good or excellent
health jumped seven points to 60%.
Further south, Ohio soybeans also enjoyed a seven-point
recovery, but amid "cool, damp weather", which also slowed harvesting activity.
The overall US soybean crop improved by two points in good
or excellent categories to 35%, its highest in 11 weeks.