Agriculture's Big Picture
AgWeb Editor Greg Vincent takes a big-picture look at agriculture and current events.
We Have A Crop: And It's This Big!
Aug 10, 2008
Will the nation's 2008 corn crop really average 155 bushels or better? Or are there just a lot of fish stories out there this year?
After driving across northern Missouri and central Illinois to attend Farm Journal's corn college, and from Kansas City to Iowa City the week before, I just don't see it.
The number of holes you see in fields is amazing. Flat fields appear to be rolling hills with the unevenness of the crops. In central Illinois, corn is still pollinating. We're behind with a sub-par crop, folks. Check out Chip's Chore Time Blog
from a couple weeks ago with a report from the air.
The view from Corn College attendees, who came from across the country, was mixed. Reports from Ohio and Minnesota were generally positive for the crop—though some from northwest Ohio want more rain. Iowa and Illinois is a mixed bag, it appears. At Farm Journal Media, we did our own survey July 2-July 10, to get a handle on acreage.
We asked farmers what they planted last year
(base of 93.6 million acres from January's report), and what they wanted to do this year (92.2 million acres according to our survey). Finally, we asked where they actually ended up this year with corn and soybeans…and would you believe 80.2 million corn acres?
With this acreage, if USDA was accurate with its July prediction of 148.4 bu/acre, we could see a corn crop of 11.1 billion bushels. This assumes harvested acres of 74.6 million acres, which accounts for the typical 7.5% loss in acres at harvest. Even if 100% of the total acreage is harvested and 148.4 bu./acre is realized, we still would have a crop just shy of 11.9 billion bu. With anticipated carryover of 833 million bu. and expected usage of 12.54 billion bu., there's little room for error.
So...where do you think we are on acreage and yield? How do you think Tuesday's report will come out and how much faith do you have in its accuracy?