CHESTERFIELD, MISSOURI, U.S. — The U.S. field corn crop condition held steady at 68% good-or-excellent as harvest began in earnest this past week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported on Sept. 14. Five percent of the crop was harvested as of Sept. 13, ranging from 57% of the North Carolina crop to 1% of Nebraska’s and Indiana’s. This compares to 4% at this time last year, nationally, and an average of 9% harvested over the past five years.

“Combines are rolling in many states and we will soon get a much more accurate idea of the size of the corn crop,” said NCGA President Chip Bowling, a grower from Maryland who is currently harvesting his own acres. “It’s good that overall crop condition has held steady, despite challenges in some areas due to flooding, as we work to once again sustainably meet all needs for food and fuel.”

Other states with measurable harvest include Illinois (6%), Kansas (11%), Kentucky (20%), Missouri (14%), Pennsylvania (6%), Tennessee (17%) and Texas (53%). Several Corn Belt states have yet to report harvest amounts.

Last week, USDA lowered the crop forecast. Corn production is now forecast at 13.6 billion bushels, down 4% from last year’s record production. Based on conditions as of Sept. 1, yields are expected to average 167.5 bushels per acre, down 3.5 bushels from 2014. If realized, this will be the second highest yield and third largest production on record for the U.S.