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Agriculture's Big Picture


AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.

Déjà vu All Over Again?

Aug 12, 2009

Remember a year ago? A lot of us in this industry, me included, looked at USDA’s projected corn yields and gave a collective, “No way. Those guys in D.C. are crazy if they think corn will yield 153 bu./acre.” I imagine a lot of you are having the same reaction this morning with USDA’s call for a national average 159.5. bu./acre, what with the problems the Eastern Corn Belt experienced with late planting. (You can get a complete recap of the reports here.)
Last year’s weather woes created many anxious moments through the growing season, all the way up until much of the Midwest had a normal frost date or later. The season finished strong and though USDA was a tad high on its August call, they were still pretty close.
So, what do you think? Is USDA on target or are their projection way too high considering the weather issues we had this spring?
Crop Tour Will Tell
Next week the Pro Famer Midwest Crop Tour makes it way from South Dakota to Ohio to get an in-field look at the crop. This is the first estimate that will account for actual ear counts on corn and pod counts on soybeans. The picture should become more clear next week. It may even uncover a few surprises like it did last year when the close examination showed the crop looked much better in person than it did from the road.
The Tweeting Tour
Get an up-to-the-minute accounting of the tour next week by following us on Twitter. The official Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Twitter site can be found here. I’ll meet up with the tour on Tuesday night in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and I’ll Twitter here.
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COMMENTS (6 Comments)

Back to the subject. Yes, although I think the USDA completely manipulates the market, this time I think they are about right. Mind you we still have alot of factors still to play, many the frost issue. I just got back from a 2 week trip that started in SE Iowa to Chicago, then all of S. Wisconsin up to central wisconsin, then over to the twin cities and then back down thru north central Iowa. Only very small areas (mostly S Wisconsin) looked mildly bad. If the northern areas get rain and a normal or late frost, watch out on corn. Storage is going to be an issue. No where, though, did I think beans looked great, but I've never been judge beens by the way they look, even if I'm walking them.
11:32 AM Aug 13th
The real problem is how do we actually know what production was or will be? There has not been a single person ask me yeild numbers for last year, how much grain I've still got from last year, or how much I will carry to next year. It's all a bunch of math based on estimates which nobody knows the accuracy of. If we have this big crop from last year, with a good carry, why is the local ethanol plant + 15 on current bid and having trouble getting corn?
10:33 PM Aug 12th
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