The U.S. Department of Agriculture resumed publication of its weekly Crop Progress report Oct. 21, providing the market with fresh information at its usual 4 p.m. E.T. release time. But the Oct. 21 report did not provide comparative data from Oct. 13, 2013, when the U.S. government was in partial shutdown.
As a result, crop progress was described only for the week ended Oct. 20. It could be compared to the same date a year ago and to the 2008-2012 average but not to a week ago. Results for the current year often diverged from the year-ago results because 2013 had a generally wet, cool growing season with planting delays while 2012 was dry and hot, with premature crop progress.
Anecdotal evidence of the progress being made in the current corn harvest was much discussed during the more than two weeks that the National Agricultural Statistics Service at the U.S.D.A. was shut down. A few days before the shutdown ended, market participants were guessing that about 35% of the crop was harvested. The official data showed that the unscientific estimates of market participants were not far wrong.
The current Crop Progress report pegged the corn harvest in the 18 major states at 39% complete as of Oct. 20, down significantly from the 53% five-year average. The crop was 85% harvested on the same date a year ago.
The soybean harvest was ahead of the corn harvest as of Oct. 20, reflecting the decision of many producers to harvest the oilseed first because of the greater risk of damage to mature soybeans left in the field. The soybean harvest was 63% harvested as of Oct. 1, down six percentage points from the five-year average. On the same date a year ago, 79% of the soybean crop was harvested, the U.S.D.A. said.
The condition of the corn and soybean crops in the 18 major states was given only for the week ended Oct. 20. The U.S.D.A. said 60% of the corn crop and 57% of the soybean crop was rated good to excellent. A total of 14% of both the corn and soybean crops was rated very poor to poor in the week ended Oct. 20.
There was plenty of curiosity about the progress of the winter wheat crops in the 18 major states during the shutdown period. The U.S.D.A. said that, as of Oct. 20, 79% was planted, equal to the five-year average and a percentage point below the amount planted by the same date a year ago.
A total of 53% of winter wheat in the 18 major states was emerged as of Oct. 20, down a percentage point from the five-year average and ahead by five percentage points from the same date a year ago. As of Oct. 20, 65% of winter wheat planted was in good-to-excellent condition and 4% was poor to very poor, the U.S.D.A. said.A total of 88% of the rice crop in the six major states was harvested as of Oct. 20, up from the 86% five-year average, the U.S.D.A. said.