Column: Crop Watch: Harvest push set to begin this week with soybeans

FILE PHOTO: Soybeans are loaded on to a truck on February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Adorno/File Photo

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Sept 26 (Reuters) - Later planting this year has not allowed U.S. Crop Watch producers to get an early start on their corn and soybean harvests, though the efforts should ramp up this week as many fields are on the brink of readiness.

Below-normal precipitation prospects for most of the Corn Belt over the next two weeks will support harvest efforts. However, cooler temperatures this week in eastern areas could slow things down, which was already a factor this past week for the Crop Watch locations in Indiana and Ohio.

Five of the 11 Crop Watch soybean fields could be harvested this week, including those in South Dakota, Kansas, eastern Iowa, southeastern Illinois and Indiana. The western Illinois corn may also be finished this week.

Completed nearly three weeks ago, the Kansas corn is the only one of 22 Crop Watch fields harvested as of Monday, and the results were very poor. The Kansas producer is also the only one to report faster-than-expected field work, up to two weeks ahead of schedule because of the dry end to summer.

The Kansas Crop Watch location got more than an inch of rain this past week, helpful for winter wheat planting prospects. The producer will begin those efforts this week, but he could run into delays if soils are too dry to plant.

Planting of U.S. corn and soybeans got a later start this year due to weather delays, so later harvest dates are not unexpected. The 11 Crop Watch corn fields were planted an average of 11 days later than in 2021 and the soybeans 12 days later.

The 2019 season also featured similar challenges, but soybeans were the bigger problem that year for the Crop Watch producers. On average, their corn fields this year were planted one day earlier than in 2019, though this year's soybean planting beat 2019 by 17 days.

The producers did not change expected yield scores this week. The 11-field, unweighted corn average remains at 3.68 and the soybean average stays at 3.57. The ratings are evaluated weekly on a 1-to-5 scale, with 3 representing average yields and 5 record or near-record yields.

The following are the states and counties of the 2022 Crop Watch corn and soybean fields: Griggs, North Dakota; Kingsbury, South Dakota; Freeborn, Minnesota; Burt, Nebraska; Rice, Kansas; Audubon, Iowa; Cedar, Iowa; Warren, Illinois; Crawford, Illinois; Tippecanoe, Indiana; Fairfield, Ohio.

Photos of the Crop Watch fields can be tracked on my Twitter feed using handle @kannbwx.

Karen Braun is a market analyst for Reuters. Views expressed above are her own.

Editing by Josie Kao

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As a columnist for Reuters, Karen focuses on all aspects of the global agriculture markets with a primary focus in grains and oilseeds. Karen comes from a strong science background and has a passion for data, statistics, and charts, and she uses them to add context to whatever hot topic is driving the markets. Karen holds degrees in meteorology and sometimes features that expertise in her columns. Follow her on Twitter @kannbwx for her market insights.