Harvest Progress and Crop Conditions Coming into Focus

While corn harvest is on track, statewide, soybeans have been slow to come off. Corn and soybean yields are meeting expectation despite challenging conditions this fall.
Harvest Progress and Crop Conditions Coming into Focus - News


Pennsylvania average soybean yields are close to crossing 50 bushels for the first time this year. Zach Larson photo.

This year, farmers have been on a roller coaster of expectations for 2018 crop conditions. In late August, conditions looked promising, but wet weather set in bringing concerns of disease, poor grain quality and harvesting difficulty. Some of those concerns turned into real problems while many (pleasantly) found out that things weren’t as bad as they thought.

While the wet weather has kept combines out of the field, corn harvest is for the most part on track according to the USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report. Statewide, approximately 82% of corn acres have been harvested as of last week, a little behind the 5-year average of 89%. Soybeans are faring worse, with only 77% of acres harvested, well below last year’s level at this time of 93% (a five-year average is not available).

Looking at yields, statewide averages are for the most part similar to those from 2017 according to the USDA Northeastern Region Crop Production Report. Estimates forecasted in early November estimate statewide corn yields at 155 bushels per acre, six less than 2017 estimates. The estimated national average is approximately 179 bushels, up two from last year. Across the state, soybean yields are estimated at 49 bushels per acre, up one from last year, and little shy of the national average of 52 bushels. With a little acreage to go, we’ll have to see if Pennsylvania’s average soybean yield will cross 50 bushels for the first time. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until mid-January for the Crop Production Annual Summary to view the final numbers for the 2018 crop year. At least then the frustrations of this fall’s harvest will be behind us.