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Weather continues to slow U.S. producers

Wet and wintry conditions in parts of the U.S. keep stalling the 2018 soybean harvest.

American farmers have harvested about 91 percent of the national soybean crop, the USDA’s latest Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin says. That number is down 5 percent from this time last year.

Growers in several states have combined more than 90 percent of their soybeans. Farmers in Tennessee, however have only harvested 74 percent of their beans. That number is down by 10 percent from this time last year.

“We’ve had horrible weather, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the USDA’s numbers are wrong,” John Dodson, a soybean grower from Halls, Tenn., told Farms.com. “I’ve still got acres to harvest, our crop is way behind normal, the quality has been significantly reduced and my yields are below what we usually average.”

Corn producers also continue to navigate weather challenges.

About 90 percent of the total corn crop is in the bin, the USDA says. That number is up from 84 percent last week. Farmers in Illinois, North Carolina and Tennessee are finished with corn harvest.

Farmers in Pennsylvania have harvested 76 percent of the state’s crop, which is up from 69 percent last week.

But with snow on the ground and temperatures heading below freezing, finishing off harvest may be difficult, said Jesse Bitler, a corn grower from Fleetwood, Penn.

“We’ve been frozen out today and everything leading up to that has been muddy,” he told Farms.com. “We’re about two weeks behind with our corn harvest, and I think I’ve got 30 acres left to harvest.”

Despite the excess moisture on the crop, it hasn’t had any mold issues, Bitler said.

“I’ve heard rumours of mold in areas around here, but I haven’t had any on my corn,” he said. “Our yields have definitely come down. We’re in the 150 to 160 (bushels/acre) range right now. We would’ve been a little higher if we were able to get harvest done on time.”

The U.S. winter wheat crop is progressing.

About 81 percent of U.S. winter wheat has emerged, the USDA says. That number is up from 77 percent last week.

Winter wheat in Nebraska is 98 percent emerged, which is the most of the 18 documented states. California’s winter wheat is 30 percent emerged. That number is up from 18 percent last week.

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