- The USDA August production report released on Friday was expected to show high yields for this year’s corn crop, but the number came in at the high end of market expectations and may go even higher according to Purdue experts who presented a program on Friday at the Indiana State Fair. The national average yield as of August 1 was forecast at 178.4 bpa up 1.8 bushels from last year and a new record high for the U.S. This estimate could result in a 14.6 billion bushel crop down 1% from 2017 due to a slight decline in planted acres.
Yet, this number could increase if weather conditions are favorable. According to Dr. Bob Nielsen, Purdue extension Corn Specialist, “This number is a bit high, but within the realm of what I think it could be. But keep in mind this crop is only about half made, so we could back off this number if we get stressed or move higher if we get favorable weather.” He told HAT a lack of moisture could provide that stress; but, at this point, that does not look to be in the forecast, “I think we can get through the next 2 weeks with plenty of moisture, so I really don’t see any stress coming.” Nielsen says the key to boosting yields is temperature, “If we say cooler for the next 30 days, that is what will put the frosting on that cake.” He does not see this as likely, but it certainly is possible.
The USDA pegged U.S. soybean yields at 51.6 bpa an increase of 2.5 bpa from 2017. Total production is estimated at 4.59 billion bushels, a 4% jump from a year ago. Typically, soybean yield estimates in August are looked upon with some suspicion because the crop is just entering pollination. This year, however, the majority of the crop got planted early and is well ahead of the average pace of development. Dr. Shaun Casteel, Purdue Soybean Specialist, said, “All season long, we have been averaging about 10 to 14 days ahead of the 5 year average.” He told HAT that entering pollination this early exposes the plants to more hours of sunlight which may increase yields. “In 2016, we had soybean yields of 57 bpa because of late August rain,” he stated. “If we get that kind of weather this year, we could realize an upside potential on these soybean yields.”
Karen Plaut, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture, convened the panel of experts that included Greg Matli, representing USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service; Bob Nielsen, Purdue professor of agronomy and Extension expert in Indiana’s corn management systems; Shaun Casteel, Purdue associate professor of agronomy and Extension soybean and small grains specialist; and Chris Hurt, professor of agricultural economics specializing in family farm market problems, pricing strategies, and livestock futures market problems, pricing strategies, and livestock futures market performance.
Indiana Crop Production Numbers
Despite a wet and cold spring that delayed planting, Indiana farmers anticipate harvesting excellent crops of corn and soybeans, according to Greg Matli, State Statistician, USDA, NASS, Indiana Field Office. If realized, the forecasted yield will be the second highest on record for corn and the highest on record for soybeans. As of August 1, the corn and soybean crop was more phenologically advanced than both last year and the 5 year average. Rainfall has been adequate in most areas of the State with few fields showing drought stress. Highlights from the August 1 Crop Production report follow:
Indiana’s average corn yield is forecast is 186 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels from the previous year. Total production is forecast at 915 million bushels.
Soybean yield is forecast at 58 bushels per acre, up 4 bushels from the 2017 State average yield. Total production is forecast at 358 million bushels, up 12 percent from last year.
Winter wheat yield is estimated at 71 bushels per acre, 5 bushels below the previous forecast and 3 bushels below last year. Winter wheat production is forecast at 18.1 million bushels.
Hay producers expect to harvest 290,000 acres of alfalfa hay with an average yield of 3.7 tons per acre. Total production is forecast at 1.07 million tons, up 20 percent from last year. All other hay production is forecast at 748,000 tons with an average yield of 2.2 tons per acre.