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Jason Behrens driving tractor with the grain cart and Roger Henning on the combine picking corn north west of Bigelow Minnesota. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

Soggy stop for area harvest

As everyone involved with Upper Midwest agriculture knows, the region's harvest has been shut down, or virtually so, by unusually cold, wet weather. A new government report reflects that.

Only a handful of days were suitable for fieldwork in the week ending Oct. 7, most of them early in the seven-day period, according to the new weekly crop progress report released Tuesday, Oct. 9, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The report normally is released on Monday, but was held back a day because of Columbus Day.

In North Dakota, two days in the seven-day period ending Oct. 7 were suitable for fieldwork. In contrast, six days in the same week a year earlier were suitable for fieldwork.

South Dakota farmers had 1.9 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared with 4.5 days in the same week in 2017,

Montana farmers had 3.5 days suitable for fieldwork during the week, compared with 4.3 days in the same week last year.

In Minnesota, 2.9 days were suitable for fieldwork during the week, an increase from 2.3 days in the same week last year.

Forecasts generally call for wet, cold conditions during the week ending Oct. 14, with some areas expected to receive more snow. So the next weekly crop progress report, to be released Oct. 15, is unlikely to show much, if any, harvest progress.

Soybeans, typically harvested before corn, have been most affected by uncooperative weather. The bean harvest is behind its five-year average pace in much of the Upper Midwest.

Here's what the Oct. 9 report says about corn and soybean harvest:

Soybeans

Minnesota — Thirty-seven percent of soybeans was harvested by Oct. 7, compared with the five-year average of 45 percent.

South Dakota — Twenty-eight percent of soybeans was harvested by Oct. 7, compared with the five-year average of 41 percent.

North Dakota — Thirty-four percent of soybeans was harvested by Oct. 7, compared with the five-year average of 50 percent.

Corn

South Dakota — Sixteen percent of corn was harvested by Oct. 7, compared with the five-year average of 13 percent for that date.

Minnesota — Fifteen percent of corn was harvested by Oct. 7, compared with the five-year average of 10 percent for that date.

North Dakota — Eight percent of corn was harvested by Oct. 7, compared with the five-year average of 6 percent for that date.

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