Corn harvest is nearing completion for the nation’s top corn growing states. USDA’s Crop Progress report for the week ending Nov. 5 shows that, nationwide, 81% of the corn crop has been harvested.
No states have officially wrapped up corn harvest. North Carolina just 2% from the finish line. Tennessee, Texas, Kansas, and Illinois also have more than 90% of their corn harvested.
North Carolina corn harvest progress
For the last few weeks, corn harvest progress in North Carolina has come to a crawl, with just 1% of corn harvested the week ending Nov. 5, USDA reported. With 98% corn harvested, North Carolina is the state closest to finishing harvest for the 2023 season.
Rhonda Garrison, executive director of the North Carolina Corn Growers Association, says that corn harvest has already wrapped up for the majority of the state’s farmers. She says there were no weather issues to impede harvest, and notes that, “USDA numbers aren’t always the most accurate.”
Garrison says that any appearance of a slow down with harvest from the USDA’s numbers was likely due to a large crop. Statewide, Garrison says North Carolina’s corn yields have averaged 140 bushels per acre (bpa), which she says is above the five-year average of 135 bpa.
Farmers haven’t been able to harvest as quickly as a result, Garrison says. “The yields are so large, in some places that they’re taking forever to harvest.”
Tennessee corn harvest progress
With 96% of their corn crop harvested, according to the USDA Crop Progress report for the week ending Nov. 5, Tennessee has surpassed Texas harvest. Tennessee corn harvest progress is behind last year at this time by 3% and 1% behind the five-year average.
William Tollefson, the assistant state climatologist at the Tennessee Climate Office, says that dry weather throughout the past week has allowed farmers to continue working in the fields. As a result, Tollefson says he thinks that Tennessee farmers were able to finish up corn harvest over the week of Nov. 6. The next Crop Progress report is scheduled for Nov. 13.
Texas corn harvest progress
Texas farmers had 95% of their corn crop harvested the week ending Nov. 5, USDA reported. While this is behind last year at this time when Texas reported a complete corn harvest, this is ahead of the five-year average for the state by 1%.
David Gibson, executive director of the Texas Corn Producers, says that he’s confident corn harvest will wrap up statewide in the next two to three weeks.
“It’s not unusual for us to have corn harvest still going on,” Gibson says. This is because the corn crop in the state’s panhandle is at elevations of up to 5,000 feet, he says. Due to the high altitudes, Gibson says that corn tends to dry down more slowly in order to be ready for harvest.
Kansas corn harvest progress
Kansas corn farmers have harvested 94% of their crop this year, USDA reported. This is ahead of last year at this time by 1%, and 4% of the five-year average.
Ignacio Ciampatti, a farming systems professor at Kansas State University, says that most of the corn crop has already been harvested in Kansas. As a result, he says farmers will likely be able to complete the 2023 harvest in the coming week or so.
Illinois corn harvest progress
With 90% of their corn harvested, Illinois farmers have made the most corn harvest progress amongst those closest to completing harvest. Harvested corn increased by 9% from the previous week in the Nov. 6 Crop Progress report. This also means that Illinois is 3% ahead of corn harvest last year at this time, and 6% ahead of the five-year average.
Trent Ford, the Illinois state climatologist, says that he thinks farmers will make significant progress towards completing harvest over the week of Nov. 6. He says that harvest season has “been a very nice harvest other than some early snow.”
For the next week, Ford says that the weather is looking good for farmers to continue towards wrapping up harvest. There may be some lows close to freezing, Ford says, which will just mean some dew on the crops as farmers continue with harvest.
Overall, though, Ford says, “I think it’ll be ideal conditions to wrap up harvest.”
Corn harvest progress historical data
USDA has reported North Carolina as the first, or tied for first, to complete corn harvest from 2018 to 2021. In 2022, Texas harvested faster than North Carolina, completing corn harvest the week ending Nov. 6.
In 2021, North Carolina completed their corn harvest alongside Texas for the week ending Nov. 15. North Carolina was the first state to complete corn harvest in 2020 for the week ending Nov. 16, USDA reported. Corn harvest wrapped up for the week ending Nov. 10 for both North Carolina and Tennessee in 2019. Five years ago, in 2018, North Carolina and Tennessee tied once more, completing corn harvest for the week ending Nov. 18.