Illinois combines quickly moved through corn and soybean fields last week and over the weekend, with soybean yields better than expected at several locations, grain dealers said on Monday.
Almost daily rain showers in western Iowa slowed progress there and some Iowa dealers said it may be later in the week before widespread harvest resumes as more rain was forecast on Tuesday.
In Illinois, the soybeans have been a pleasant surprise with yields in the mid-60s to low 70s bushels per acre.
"The bean yields are way better than expected," said an Illinois dealer, based north of Champaign.
The corn yields there ranged from about 200 bushels on fields that escaped early season water damage, to 140 to 160 bushels on fields that were damaged. The dealer estimated soybeans in his area were about 40% harvested and corn about 20%.
Harvest was similar a little further south in Illinois, where one dealer reported both corn and soybeans were about 50% done.
Iowa's corn and soybean harvests were just getting under way after rain slowed last week's progress.
"A very slow moving low-pressure center brought an extended period of showers and thunderstorms to western Iowa between Tuesday morning and early Friday morning," Iowa's weekly crop update said on Monday. "Torrential rain was centered upon western Pottawattamie and Mills counties on Wednesday morning with another area across southwest Monona County. Rainfall of two inches or more was common across a wide area of west central and southwest Iowa."
USDA Monday afternoon reported Iowa' corn harvest at 5% and soybeans at 7%, versus the 14% and 13% averages, respectively. Illinois corn harvest was 30% done and soybeans at 24%, versus the averages of 34% and 12%.
Nationally, the corn harvest as of Sunday was 18% done versus the 23% average and soybeans were 21% versus the 16% average.
New-crop corn and soybeans flowed into Illinois elevators on Monday under storage agreements as farmers are largely reluctant to sell at current prices. However, one dealer said the big soybean yields will likely prompt some selling as farmers may realize prices could slip some more.
In western Iowa, some soybeans have been delivered, while no corn loads have been delivered, said one dealer.
"If it doesn't rain the beans are ready," he said. "If it hadn't been for that (rain) we would be rolling."
Corn continues to be shipped by rail to southeast ethanol and poultry markets and to cattle feedlots in Texas, but very little was going by barge to Gulf export points. Local corn processors in Illinois raised corn bids, which are now close to being competitive with the rail market, said one dealer.
Soybeans were being loaded on barges as demand in the river markets has increased. Basis bids at the Gulf however have slipped in reaction to the pending abundance of newly harvested supplies.
USDA's weekly export inspections came out on Monday with corn, soybean and wheat shipments for the week ended Sept. 17 at 31.9 million, 19.5 million and 23.9 million bushels. The wheat number beat trade forecasts, while corn matched and soybeans missed by a small margin. Inspections for all three were up from a week ago.
Early on Monday, USDA reported two soybean export sales, one totaling 36.7 million bushels of 2016 soybeans to China and the other 9.15 million of this year's crop to unknown destinations.