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Is a Record Corn Crop in the Cards?

May 31, 2014
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
corn ears

Planting progress has caught up and is nearing the finish line. Jerry Gulke explains what high yields mean for price direction.

After a slow start, corn planting is now back on track. As of May 25, USDA estimates 88% of the U.S. corn crop is in the ground, which matches the five-year average. Of that corn, 60% has emerged. 

"I’d say probably 79% of this year’s corn crop was planted into good conditions and is growing pretty well," says Jerry Gulke, president of The Gulke Group. "We now have the heat coming at the right time, so odds are we’ll get an above-average yield," he says.

Hear Gulke's full audio analysis:


USDA’s current estimates for the 2014 national average yield is 165 bu./acre. "The perception of the marketplace is El Nino is here and we’ll have a normal year," Gulke says. "We could probably, finally, reach a 170-bu. national yield."

A national yield near 170 bu./acre would be a high-water mark for corn. Here’s a list of the final yield tally for the last few years:

  • 2013: 158.8 bu./acre
  • 2012: 123.4 bu./acre
  • 2011: 147.2 bu./acre
  • 2010: 152.8 bu./acre
  • 2009: 164.7 bu./acre
  • 2008: 153.9 bu./acre
  • 2007: 150.7 bu./acre


How Much Corn is Too Much Corn?

Gulke says if you take a high national yield multiplied by the 91.7 million acres of corn USDA is predicting; you equal a sufficient amount of production. He says carryover would come in at 1.5 billion to 1.7 billion bu. next year, which is enough to meet all demands for feed, export, etc.

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