Growers have only harvested 8 percent of the national crop, the USDA says
By Diego Flammini
The 2019 U.S. winter wheat harvest is off to a slow start.
American farmers have only harvested 8 percent of national winter wheat acres, the USDA’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin for June 18 said. That figure it down from 25 percent harvested last year at this time.
Farmers in all the key winter wheat states are behind.
Growers in Illinois, for example, have only harvested 6 percent of the state’s winter wheat crop. That number is down from 26 percent last year.
Soggy fields are the main reason why combines are sitting idle. And those conditions could affect the grain after harvest, said Mike Doherty, executive director of the Illinois Wheat Association.
“Crops have been subject to a lot of rain and saturated soils, so farmers haven’t been able to do much,” he told Farms.com. “Farmers only need one or two dry days to harvest the crop. But the concern is over how wet the wheat is because farmers might have to pay for commercial storage and drying, which could affect their bottom lines.”
Other crops are behind in development.
About 55 percent of U.S. soybeans are emerged, the USDA said. That figure is down from 89 percent last year.
Soybeans in Louisiana are 94 percent emerged, which is the highest in the U.S. That statistic is only down 5 percent from last year.
Soybeans in Ohio are only 29 percent emerged, which represents the lowest progress in the country. That number is down from 87 percent last year.
Like soybeans, corn emergence is lagging behind last year’s progress.
National corn emergence stands at 79 percent, the USDA said. That number is down from 97 percent last year.
Only North Carolina’s corn is completely emerged. Michigan’s corn is 48 percent emerged, which is the lowest of the 18 documented states. That number is also down from 86 percent last year.
Farms.com has reached out to corn and soybean growers for updates on crop emergence and condition.