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Yields Go Up, Government Shuts Down

October 5, 2013
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
USDA   unloading corn

Corn and soybean yields are coming in way above expectations. Jerry Gulke provides a harvest update and predictions for USDA’s next moves.

While the U.S. government may be shut down, U.S. farmers are hitting the fields to harvest their 2013 crops.
Slightly more than 10% of the U.S. corn crop has been harvested, according to USDA’s Sept. 30 Crop Progress report. The five-year average for this time of the year is 23% harvested. For soybeans, 11% of the crop has been harvested, which compares to a five-year average of 20%.

Jerry Gulke, president of the Gulke Group, says yield reports so far have been pleasant surprises for many producers. "We are harvesting the corn and soybean acres that were planted before late May and early June, and those seem to be coming in way above expectations."

Gulke says these positive yield reports (some coming in 10 to 20 bushels above farmer expectations) are from not just one state, but all across the country. "We’re hearing in from Louisiana to Illinois to the Canadian border," he says. "Our potential was much higher than we originally thought. We have a lot more yield out there than anyone expected."

The sticking point will be: Will yield reports stay high? Gulke’s not sure. "We did get a good September that should have finished this crop out well," he says. "But will the late-planted corn come in at 150 instead of 180?"

Hear Gulke's full audio analysis:

Informa Ups Yield Estimates

This week Informa Economics released its yield projections. Gulke says the group expects USDA to peg the U.S. national average corn yield at 158.8 bu. per acre for a 14.010 billion bu. crop. USDA’s current corn yield projection is 155.3 bu. per acre

"I think USDA will raise their corn yield at some point," Gulke says.

For soybeans, Informa expects USDA to raise its national average yield projection by 0.5 bu. from September to 41.7 bu. per acre for a 3.176 billion bu. crop.

Gulke says these numbers may not turn out to be written in stone, but in both cases, he says farmers can see what the trend is.

"The bean crop could get bigger, depending on the late-planted crop," he says.

Will USDA Release Crop Production Reports in October?

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