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The Upper Midwest soybean crop is more advanced than usual and harvest should begin in earnest within several weeks.(Mikkel Pates/Agweek)

USDA offers mixed outlook on corn, soybeans

If you ask Upper Midwest agriculturalists about potential yields for this year's corn and soybean crops, they'll probably answer "highly variable," or words to that effect.

The latest crop report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirms that crop conditions vary greatly. On balance though, a majority of the corn and soybean crops remains in good or excellent condition.

The report, released Sept. 11 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the USDA, also finds that corn and soybeans are more mature than usual for the middle of September and that the area's spring wheat harvest is ahead of schedule and nearing the finish line.That reflects generally warm, dry conditions in July and August, which "pushed" area crops, or accelerated their development.

Here's what the report, reflecting conditions on Sept. 9, says about corn, soybeans and spring wheat, the region's three major crops.

Corn

North Dakota — Twenty-six percent of the crop was mature on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 7 percent; 63 percent was rated good or excellent, 25 percent fair and 12 percent or very poor.

Minnesota — Seventeen percent of the crop was mature on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 6 percent; 76 percent was in good or excellent shape, 17 percent fair and 7 percent poor or very poor.

South Dakota — Twenty-nine percent of the crop was mature on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 10 percent; 64 percent of the crop was rated good or excellent, 20 percent fair and 16 percent poor or very poor.

Soybeans

Minnesota — Twenty-four percent of the crop had dropped leaves on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 14 percent; 71 percent was in good or excellent condition, 21 percent fair and 8 percent poor or very poor.

South Dakota — Forty-five percent of the crop had dropped leaves on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 31 percent; 59 percent was in good or excellent condition, 24 percent fair and 17 percent poor or very poor.

North Dakota — Fifty-seven percent of the crop had dropped leaves on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 41 percent; 53 percent of the crop was rated good or excellent, 30 percent fair and 17 percent poor or very poor.

Spring wheat

Montana — Eighty-seven percent of crop was harvested on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 85 percent.

South Dakota — All, or virtually all, of the crop was harvested on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 97 percent.

North Dakota — Ninety-four percent of the crop was harvested on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 71 percent.

Minnesota — Ninety-nine percent of the crop was harvested on Sept. 9, compared with the five-year average of 89 percent.

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