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Katherine Plessner

Making progress on crop harvest, but Upper Midwest pace still trails five-year average

They're still behind what they'd like to be, but Upper Midwest farmers overall are making progress in harvesting the last of their crops, a new government report says.

Corn, soybeans, sunflowers and sugar beets all saw significant harvest gains in the week ending Nov. 4, according to the weekly crop progress released Nov. 5 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Even so, the harvest pace for the four crops generally trails their respective five-year averages, largely the result of rain and snow in October that slowed and even stopped harvest. Much of the concern involves soybeans, which typically are harvested before soybeans, sunflower and sugar beets and which potentially can suffer more from harvest delays.

Generalizing about Upper Midwest crop production always is risky, and there's a notable exception to this fall's behind-normal harvest: Minnesota farmers are slightly more advanced than normal, with 78 percent of corn harvested in the state on Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 77 percent for that date.

Here's a look by crop and state:

Soybeans

Minnesota — Ninety-four percent of soybeans was harvested by Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 98 percent for that date.

North Dakota — Eighty-six percent of soybeans was harvested by Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 97 percent for that date.

South Dakota — Ninety-two percent of soybeans was harvested by Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 97 percent for that date.

Corn

North Dakota — Forty-nine percent of corn was harvested by Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 62 percent for that date.

South Dakota — Fifty-nine percent of corn was harvested by Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 70 percent for that date.

Sugar beets

Minnesota — Ninety-nine percent of beets was harvested by Nov. 4, the same as the five-year average for that date.

North Dakota — Ninety-eight percent of beets was harvested by Nov. 4, down from the five-year average of 100 percent.

Sunflowers

South Dakota — Forty-five percent of sunflowers was harvested by Nov. 4, compared with the five-year average of 62 percent for that date.

North Dakota — Sixty-one percent of sunflowers was harvested by Nov. 4, up from the five-year average of 60 percent for that date.

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