Reasonable yield expectations are proving some light at the end of the corn price tunnel, says Jerry Gulke.
The results are in. The much-anticipated 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour tested the preconceived notions about this year’s massive crops. What did the 120 crop scouts find?
Here’s an overview of Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour state results:
- Ohio: Corn yield: 182.11 bu. per acre, 171.64 bu. per acre in 2013, 146.13 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in a 3'x3' square: 1,342.42; 1,283.61 in 2013; 1,190.18 for the three-year average.
- South Dakota: Corn yield: 152.71 bu. per acre; 161.75 bu. per acre in 2013; 125.70 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in 3'x3' square: 1,057.80, 1,016.68 in 2013, 902.76 for the three-year average.
- Indiana: Corn yield: 185.03 bu. per acre, 167.36 bu. per acre in 2013, 141.24 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in a 3'x3' square: 1,220.79; 1,185.14 in 2013; 1,118.65 for the three-year average.
- Nebraska: Corn yield: 163.77 bu. per acre; 154.93 bu. per acre in 2013; 146.81 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in 3'x3' square: 1,103.26; 1,138.94 in 2013, 1,106.62 for the three-year average.
- Illinois: Corn yield: 196.96 bu. per acre; 170.48 bu. per acre in 2013; 149.36 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in 3'x3' square: 1,299.17; 1,115.97 in 2013, 1,085.35 for the three-year average.
- Iowa: Corn yield: 178.75 bu. per acre; 171.94 bu. per acre in 2013; 157.94 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in 3'x3' square: 1,173.59, 927.30 in 2013; 1,049.68 for the three-year average.
- Minnesota: Corn yield: 170.76 bu. per acre; 181.09 bu. per acre in 2013; 171.07 bu. per acre for the three-year average. Soybean pod counts in a 3'x3' square: 1,031.54, 869.42 in 2013; 975.99 for the three-year average.
Following the tour, Pro Farmer released its estimates for the 2014 corn and soybean crops. Pro Farmer pegs 2014 U.S. corn crop at 14.093 billion bu., with an average yield of 169.3 bu./acre. For soybeans, Pro Farmer expects a 2014 U.S. soybean crop of 3.812 billion bu., with an average yield of 45.35 bu./acre.
Pro Farmer says these estimates are based on assumptions for normal weather through September, which would include a "slow cook" on the corn crop, allowing it to gain the weight needed to reach our estimates. Based on FSA certified acreage data and observations on Crop Tour, Pro Farmer decided to leave harvested soybean acres unchanged at 84.058 million and take 600,000 acres off of harvested corn acres — 500,000 acres off North Dakota and 100,000 off Minnesota — bringing it to 83.239 million acres.
In August, USDA forecast an average corn yield of 167.4 bu./acre and an average soybean yield of 45.4 bu./acre. "The numbers that UDSA came out with were thought to have room for improvement," says Jerry Gulke, president of The Gulke Group. "USDA will not recognize the total potential; they will go up slowly as things develop."
Gulke says the Pro Farmer numbers were close to what he expected. "I was pleasantly surprised to see they didn’t blow the yields out of the water in Iowa and Illinois like some of the people wanted to," he says.
Hear Gulke's full audio analysis:
A Black Swan Ahead?
One of the big questions that remain to be answered, Gulke says, involves acreage. In an upcoming column for Top Producer magazine, Gulke notes, there’s still wiggle room for the number of harvested corn acres.
Based on its crop survey, The Gulke Group, estimated around 90.5 million corn acres. Already, around 1.5 million acres of that has been shaved off due to prevent planting. Late plantings, cool summer temperatures and flooded-out acres suggest harvested acres could come in around 80.8 million.
"That would produce crop of 13.736 billion bushels with the 170 bu.-per-acre yield assumed by the trade plus carry-in," Gulke says. "That’s only about 300 million bushels more than USDA’s estimated demand of 13.435 billion bushels. That would leave room for a de4mand suprise"
The silver lining, Gulke says, is there could be some hope for the current corn-price situation. "Maybe the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a freight train after all," he says.
Have a question for Jerry? Contact him at 815-721-4705 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For More Information
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Read more coverage from the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour:
Don't Call the Corn Crop a Record Yet
Odds heavily favor the 2014 corn crop setting a new yield record, yet challenging conditions may prevent this year’s from eclipsing last year’s production record.
Iowa Corn Beats Expectations While Minnesota’s Crop Suffers
Mike Berdo grows corn and soybeans in Washington County, Iowa, but even he’s surprised by the quality of his state’s crop this year.
Soggy Scouts See Variable Crops in Iowa, Minnesota
Today marks the final day of scouting for the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour. Crop scouts are sampling corn and soybean crops in Iowa and southern Minnesota.
Indiana Corn Yields Jump 10.6%, Strong Soybeans Surprise Scouts
On the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, scouts in Indiana say that the numbers could go higher in the weeks to come, depending on the weather.
Illinois Crops Crush Competition
From the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, corn yield surges 15.5% compared to last year; soybean pod counts jump 16.4%.