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As Conditions Improve, Corn Harvest Begins

Market Intel / September 11, 2018

USDA’s September 10 Crop Progress report reveals 5 percent of the U.S. corn crop has been harvested. For this time of year, corn harvest throughout the U.S. is up 3 percentage points from the five-year average and remains on target with last year’s harvest percentage. Corn harvest is just beginning, with the Southern states making the most progress. Louisiana farmers have harvested 98 percent of their corn crop and Georgia producers have harvested 87 percent of their crop. Figure 1 illustrates the pace of U.S. corn harvest by state as of Sept. 8. 

Crop conditions for the week ending Sept. 9 have improved, with USDA estimating 68 percent of the U.S. corn crop is in good-to-excellent condition. Corn crop conditions are up 1 percentage point from last week and up 7 percentage points from last year. The improved crop conditions were a bit of a surprise to analysts, who were expecting recent precipitation and muddy fields resulting from saturated maturing crops to lead to a decline in conditions. The percent of corn crops in good-to-excellent condition is up 2 percentage points over the five-year average of 66 percent. Corn crops in poor-to-very-poor condition have remained unchanged from the previous three weeks’ 12 percent.

USDA reports 68 percent of the soybean crop is in good-to-excellent condition, up 2 percentage points from last week and 8 percentage points from last year. The percent of crops in good-to-excellent condition continues to be up 5 percentage points from the five-year average of 63 percent. Soybean crops in poor-to-very-poor condition have abated slightly to 10 percent, down 1 percentage point from the previous two weeks. 

Contact:
Megan Nelson
Economic Analyst
(202) 406-3629
megann@fb.org
twitter.com/@MeganRNelson1
 

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On July 26, the Department of Labor published a proposed rule that would amend its regulations regarding certain provisions of the H-2A program. Among the many changes in the proposed rule are revisions to the methodologies used to determine the Adverse Effect Wage Rate. Rather than a single AEWR for all H-2A workers within a region, DOL has proposed AEWRs by agricultural occupation. The proposal reflects the department's concern that the current AEWR methodology for field and livestock workers (combined) may have an adverse effect on the wages of workers in higher-paid agricultural occupations, such as farmworker supervisors and construction laborers on farms. Following the data supplied by DOL in the proposed rule, this Market Intel will look at what the proposal means for farms utilizing the H-2A program.

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While on the higher side of pre-report estimates, the USDA September Crop Production report shows corn and soybeans yields are down from 2018 and lower than the projections posted in the USDA August Crop Production report.

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