SIKESTON, Mo. -- An early corn harvest is well underway in some portions of Southeast Missouri, and other crops in the region continue to run ahead of schedule as well.
Anthony Ohmes, agronomy specialist for University of Missouri Extension's Southeast Region and Mississippi County office, said earlier planting in the spring combined with hotter-than-normal summer days made plants mature quicker.
As a result, some Southeast Missouri growers began harvesting their corn crop as early as two weeks ago.
"The corn harvest is rolling at a record pace," Ohmes said. "Most (of the corn being harvested now) is going into on-farm storage."
The drought has affected a large area of the United States as well as all of Missouri, Ohmes said. Irrigation has helped Southeast Missouri crops fare better than the rest of the state and nation.
"As long as irrigation worked properly, those yields probably aren't going to be influenced that much. They won't have a great decline in yield under the pivots. Crops outside the pivot or no irrigation or dry land will probably see yields very similar to the rest of the state," Ohmes said.
U.S. corn growers are forecast to harvest 87.4 million acres in 2012, down 2 percent from June estimates, according to the Crop Production report released Aug. 10 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
According to the National Agricultural Statistical Services' crop progress and condition report for Missouri, crops continue to be several days -- and in some cases weeks -- ahead of schedule for the week that ended Sunday.
Statewide corn dough stage and beyond was 96 percent -- 11 days ahead of last year and 16 days ahead of normal (five-year average). Corn dented was 85 percent, which is 10 days ahead of 2011 and 18 days ahead of normal. Fifty-one percent of corn was mature, 17 days ahead of last year and more than three weeks ahead of normal. Corn harvested for grain was 18 percent, three weeks ahead of last year and 24 days ahead of normal.
The majority of corn is rated fair to very poor across the state. However, the Southeast District has the highest good to excellent rating, 23 percent, for the corn crop for the week that ended Sunday. The next highest was 14 percent rated "good" in the South Central District followed by 4 percent in East Central and 3 percent in the North West District. None of the remaining five regions rated the corn "good" or "excellent."
In the Southeast District, 65 percent of corn for the week ending Aug. 19 was mature compared to 5 percent last year. and 23 percent of the corn was harvested compared to zero percent for the same time last year.