Compared to just 16% at the same time last year and a 39% five-year average for this time of year, 68% of the 2010 U.S. corn crop has already been harvested, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.

Many states are well above the national percentage; Illinois has harvested 93% of its corn compared to just 10% in October 2009. Iowa has harvested 66% compared to 9% in 2009 and Minnesota is at 47% instead of the 3% at this time last year. "We were able to complete our harvest sooner due to a much earlier planting season and a rapid maturation of the crop caused by a very warm summer and fall," said Illinois farmer Ron Gray, who is also the corn sector director for the U.S. Grains Council (USGC).

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In addition to an early yield, the quality appears excellent, according to farmers. "The last two years' quality was down some and that shouldn't be an issue with this year's crop," said Iowa farmer and USGC Secretary Julius Schaaf. Plans are already being made for next season's harvest. "This fall is proving to be ideal to prepare for the 2011 crop year," said Schaaf.