Don't write-off USDA's 155.3 corn yield. Use it!
Sep 13, 2013
From The Editor
September 13, 2013
Hello Pro Farmer Members!
Everybody wants to "write-off" USDA's yield estimate of 155.3 bu. per acre for corn. Don't do it. Use it!
Ear populations are the key. USDA added about 1,000 ears to the population compared to the objective yield data in the August Crop Production Report. Some question how that could happen. Well... the ears probably weren't there when some fields were evaluated in August. What that means is these fields were exceptionally late in ear development, or that some late-emerging plants in fields finally shot an ear. No... that kind of inconsistency is not how "big yields" are built, but counting ears really isn't that difficult.
The other piece of information in the objective yield data is ear weight. Right now, USDA estimates an ear weight that's just above that seen in 2011, but below the 2010 average ear weight. The September average ear weight was also down slightly from the August estimate of ear weight. So ear weights are "trending" lower.
For the October Crop Production Report, do not expect another 1,000-ear increase in the average population. Ear populations should be close to steady with the roughly 28,400 estimated in the September crop report. That will work to hold the yield steady.
That means the average ear weight is the variable that will change yields from September to October. Because ear weights declined from August to September and because conditions were detrimental to kernel fill after the objective yield data was collected for the September production estimate, I've got to lean down on ear weights in the October update. That should pull the yield down from 155.3 bu. per acre. If ear weights decline from about .311 lbs per ear to .305 lbs. per ear (a reasonable prediction), that's a 1.9% decline in average ear weight. Take the same amount off of USDA's 155.3 bu. per acre, and it lands the yield at 152.3 bu. per acre.
So... you can anticipate some changes in the final yield, but don't write off USDA's current 155.3 bu. per acre corn yield. Use it to anticipate what might happen to the yield in the October Crop Production Report.
Soybeans are another story
In this week's Pro Farmer newsletter, we explained that USDA's objection soybean yield data included the second lowest pod count (in 18 sq. feet) since 2004 and the second heaviest average pod weight since 2004. Only the 2012 bean crop sported a lower pod count and a heavier average pod weight.
The 2013 bean crop is not getting the kind of finish it needs to build the kind of pod weight currently estimated by USDA. There's little question (in my mind, anyway) that bean yields will trend lower in the October Crop Production Report.
That's it for now...
... be safe as you get ready for harvest or even open up some fields in the week ahead.
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