Although it has not officially been announced, we’re waving the checkered flag on #harvest16 for Illinois corn farmers. The USDA-NASS reported 10 days ago that we were 97% completed. So based on the information we have, how does this year’s harvest timeline shake out compared to others? Let’s look at some quick facts while including some of our favorite photos from harvest:
1. Last year finishes first
Last year’s harvest took less time than it did this year. On November 14th, 2016, harvest was 97% completed compared to being 100% completed the previous year. However, the 5-year average at that point cited 96% completed, just above the average.
2. Productivity does not outshine pace
Moreover, we can see that the pace in finishing harvest was slower than last year. On November 14th, 97% harvest was completed compared to 94% on November 7th, showing a 3% increase in productivity. However, the previous year boasted a better pace with 100% in the second week of November and 99% during the first week. Although anecdotal at this point, we can probably attribute this delay to the unpredictable weather over the last couple of months.
Clearly, we’re using the most recent numbers, but they indicate less efficiency based on previous years. However, there are numerous factors that can produce this result including intermittent rain and the need for replanting during the spring months after rain drowning out some crops.
As the final data comes in, we’ll dive deeper and identify more exact trends using crop data from the USDA-NASS, including the quality of the crops each week. Regardless of the slower completion time on harvest, we are still proud of the work our corn farmers have done this season. It gave Illinois another record-breaking year of yields! It looks like that sometimes quality just takes time.