That cloud of dust on the horizon is the last few acres of corn and soybeans being harvested as farmers work to put 2012 behind them...finally. The latest USDA crop progress report has corn 95% harvested, soybeans at 93% harvested.
For corn, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota are officially done. Michigan (75%), Pennsylvania (72%) and Ohio (72%) are playing catch-up given a very wet fall. After this summer's drought, the soggy harvest has been a slap in the face of the Eastern Corn Belt.
Soybean harvest has progress ahead of average, with Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin reporting they are finished at 100% harvested. Lagging behind is North Carolina (26%), Missouri (79%), Kentucky (83%) and Kansas (86%). With 93% of the soybeans out of the field, the crop is running about a week ahead of the five year average.
In winter wheat, 92% of the crop is in the ground - compared to 88% last week. And 72% of the crop has emerged, but some states are lagging well behind the emergence average this season. South Dakota reports only 33% of its crop out of the ground, versus 93% for the five-year average. North Carolina (12%) and California (10%) are also slow to plant this season.
Winter wheat condition is 39% good to excellent, and 19% poor to very poor. The amount listed as poor to very poor rose from 15% last week. Continued dry weather in key winter wheat areas is taking its toll ahead of winter.
And cotton pickers are rolling in earnest pushing harvested acres up to 64% in the latest report. That's a jump from just 50% harvested last week. Even with Sandy pounding some parts of the East, cotton producers are getting their crop out of the field. The harvest rate is ahead of the five-year average too. In some locations - such as Georgia - harvest is proceeding almost twice as fast as normal.