The U.S. corn harvest continues ahead of schedule with some states nearly half-finished at a time when they usually are just getting started. In its weekly crop update, the USDA says little has changed in the condition of drought-damaged corn and soybeans. That's because the plants are too far along for recent rain to make a difference. Corn was planted several weeks earlier this year and matured more quickly in the summer heat, allowing farmers to start harvesting early. Tennessee has almost half of its corn in, compared to the usual 21 percent.
This year's corn harvest is ahead of schedule with four percent in already, compared with just one percent at this time last year. The harvest is three to four weeks ahead of schedule in most of the corn belt because an unusually warm spring allowed farmers to plant earlier. Most then expected a good year, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been reducing its estimates of the nation's harvest amid a severe drought centered over the Midwest.