Harvest Season Underway in Some Areas

October 2, 2017


The warm late growing season during September this year has pushed the 2017 corn and soybean crop very rapidly toward maturity. Soybean harvest has begun in many portions of Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, while other areas of the upper Midwest still need a bit more time for soybeans to fully mature. Some early corn hybrids have also reached physiological maturity and will likely be ready to harvest very soon. Nearly all corn and soybeans in most of the region should reach maturity in the next week or two, and harvest should be full swing across the entire area.

As of September 27, a total of 2,528 growing degree units (GDU’s) had been accumulated since May 1 at the University of Minnesota Southern Research and Outreach Center at Waseca, which is similar to many areas of Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. This exceeds the normal GDU accumulation of 2,439 at Waseca on September 27. GDU accumulation in the last half of September was nearly double the normal GDU accumulation for that time period. This helped compensate for the very cool weather in the upper Midwest during August, when GDU accumulation ran 15-20 percent below normal at many locations.

Soybean harvest in many locations across Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa is now underway, and other soybeans have either reached maturity, or are dropping leaves. Soybean harvest began in many areas on the final few days of September, but was slowed by rainfall over the weekend.  Full-scale soybean harvest will likely resume, once field conditions dry-out adequately for combining to continue. Soybean yields will likely be highly variable across the region, as they have been in recent years; however, a bit more consistent yields may occur in many portions South Central Minnesota in 2017, due to the very favorable growing conditions late in the growing season.

Much of the corn in Southern Minnesota has now reached physiological maturity, which is the “black layer” stage, or is very close to reaching maturity. Corn is usually at 30-32 percent moisture when it reaches the “back layer” stage, and then begins to dry down naturally in the field. Ideally, growers like to see corn dried down in the field to at least 20-22 percent moisture, or lower, before they harvest the corn. This greatly saves on corn drying costs, and improves the quality of the corn being harvested and going into storage. Corn is usually dried down to a final moisture content of 15-16 percent moisture for safe storage until the following Summer.

Corn will dry down about 0.50 % per day naturally at an average daily temperature of 60 degrees F, which increases considerably at higher temperature levels, such as have existed in recent weeks. At Waseca, the normal daily average air temperature in September is above 60 degrees, but that drops to only about 48 degrees during October. If favorable drying weather continues in the coming weeks, it is likely that corn drying costs in many areas will be reduced somewhat in 2017. Due to the rapid maturing process of the corn crop, there has been concern in some areas for the potential of low test weights with the 2017 corn crop. The standard test weight for corn is 56 pounds per bushel.

It is quite early to project 2017 corn yields in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, however many pre-harvest yield estimates by professional agronomists have producers quite optimistic about this year’s corn yield prospects. In the USDA Crop Report on September 12, Minnesota’s 2017 statewide average corn yield was estimated at 182 bushels per acre, which is well below the 2016 record statewide average corn yield of 193 bushels per acre. USDA is projecting Iowa’s 2017 average corn yield at 187 bushels per acre, also considerably below last year’s record yield of 203 bushels per acre.



USDA has announced the final 2016 Market Year Average (MYA) prices, which extended from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017, with MYA prices being finalized on September 30, 2017. The final 2016 MYA prices are $3.36 per bushel for corn and $9.47 per bushel for soybeans. All 2016 ARC-CO corn and soybean payments are based on the final national MYA price for the 2016 crop year These MYA prices will be used to determine any potential 2016 County ARC-CO payments for corn and soybeans across the U.S. These MYA prices will also be used to determine 2016 Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments for any eligible corn and soybean producers.

It appears that about 70-80 percent of the counties in Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa, as well as in Eastern South Dakota, will get a 2016 corn ARC-CO payment; however, very few counties will earn the maximum 2016 payment. Only about one-third of the counties in Central and Northern Minnesota or Eastern North Dakota will get a 2016 corn ARC-CO payment, with many counties receiving a zero payment. Payments in counties that were below the maximum ARC-CO payment estimate for corn will likely see their 2016 corn ARC-CO payment reduced by $1.00-$2.00 per corn base acre from the September 1 estimate. This is due to the final MYA corn price increasing from an estimated $3.35 per bushel on 9-01-17 to a final MYA price of $3.36 per bushel on 9-30-17.  Almost no counties in the Upper Midwest will get a 2016 soybean ARC-CO payment.

Previous county yields for corn, soybeans, and other crops, benchmark yields and revenues, FSA yields, ARC-CO payment levels, and other farm program information are available on the FSA ARC-PLC web site, which is at:   www.fsa.usda.gov/arc-plc. Kent Thiesse has prepared an Information Sheet titled: “Estimating Final 2016 Corn ARC-CO Payments”, as well as updated “2016 ARC-CO Payment Estimate Tables” for most counties in Minnesota, Northern Iowa, and Eastern North and South Dakota. To receive a free copy of the Information Sheet and the Payment Tables, send an e-mail to: kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com



Note — For additional information contact Kent Thiesse, Farm Management Analyst and

Vice President, MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN.  (Phone — (507) 381-7960);

E-mail — kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com)


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