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2021 harvest season starting to wrap up across Midwest, Appalachians
By Doug Schmitz
Iowa Correspondent

INDIANAPOLIS – Harvest progressed throughout the mostly dry week before weekend precipitation slowed field activity in Indiana, while Kentucky experienced slightly above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall.
That’s according to the Nov. 15 USDA Crop Progress & Conditions Report, as 2021 fall harvest starts to wrap up across the Midwest and the Appalachians.
In Indiana, dry conditions allowed for significant harvest progress the previous week, said State Statistician Nathanial Warenski.
“Corn and soybean harvest both moved closer toward their respective five-year averages, but remained slightly behind schedule,” he said. “Corn harvest progressed slower in some areas due to leaning corn caused by wind damage. Winter wheat planting progressed closer to completion, and crop conditions remained stable.”
In Kentucky, farmers pushed ahead with fieldwork early in the week as the weather was warm and dry, said David Knopf, director of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Eastern Mountain Regional Office in Louisville, Ky.
“By the weekend, temperatures had dropped and widespread rain had moved in,” he said. “There continue to be reports of very good grain yields; however, with rain moving in this past week, the overall picture is not yet clear.
“As the harvest falls behind for some, weather is becoming a concern,” he said. “Stripping of tobacco remains on pace with past years and is moving ahead steadily. Growth is slowing as temperatures drop. Winter wheat planting is pushing ahead as the current crop is in mostly good condition. The wheat crop is steadily emerging.”
In Illinois, the state’s report said there were 4.6 suitable days for field work during the week ending Nov. 14, with the statewide average temperature at 46.3 degrees, 3.9 degrees above normal.
The report said corn harvested for grain reached 95 percent, compared to the five-year average of 92 percent. Soybeans harvested reached 93 percent, compared to the five-year average of 96 percent.
Illinois winter wheat planted reached 86 percent, compared to the five-year average of 96 percent. Winter wheat emerged reached 71 percent, compared to the five- year average of 85 percent. Winter wheat condition was 1 percent poor to 20 percent excellent.
In Iowa, variable precipitation slowed harvest activities in parts of the state, allowing farmers 4.1 suitable days for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 14.
“The first snowflakes of the season flew late last week, and soybean harvest is now 97 percent complete,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig. “With less than 10 percent of corn left in the fields, the weather outlooks indicate cooler-than-average temperatures, and below-normal precipitation chances.”
The state’s report said 91 percent of Iowa corn for grain has been harvested, four days ahead of the five-year average. South central Iowa farmers have more than 20 percent of their corn for grain yet to harvest. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain was 17 percent.
In Michigan, the state experienced a few rain and snow events although harvest progress was able to advance significantly, said Marlo Johnson, director of the NASS Great Lakes Regional Office. There were 4.3 suitable days for fieldwork during the week ending Nov. 14.
In addition, Michigan farmers anticipate a record corn yield in 2021, she said, adding corn harvest continued on pace as producers took full advantage of dry spells. Michigan sugar beet harvest continued slightly ahead of the five-year average. Winter wheat planting made progress as 81 percent of the crop has emerged.
In Ohio, the state’s report said corn and soybean producers made good harvest progress last week, according to State Statistician Cheryl Turner.
With harvest underway, she said Ohio farmers anticipate record corn and soybean yields this year.
“Ohio farmers made good harvest progress when they could get back into fields last week,” she said. “Corn harvest was slightly ahead of last year, and on pace with the five-year average.
“Soybean harvest progress still lagged both last year and the five-year average,” she added. “Many farmers had completed harvest. Snow showers arrived on Sunday in the northern part of the state.”
In Tennessee, the state’s report said West and Middle Tennessee had moved forward with both weeding and seeding of plants. Middle Tennessee rains slowed down, but crop field quality was in question. In East Tennessee, many pastures recovered from summer droughts.
The report also said there were 4.9 suitable days for field foods, topsoil moisture was 1 percent very short to 10 percent surplus, and subsoil moisture was 1 percent very short to 10 percent surplus.