Chore time for me isn't what it used to be when I was growing up on our eastern Iowa farm, but taking care of two horses in the morning before I head in for work gives me a little time to think about the day ahead. Each morning, stop at this spot to get a feeling for the "tone of the day" - and some attitude about agriculture and the markets.
I was thinking…
... about this morning's USDA Crop Report.
Corn: 152.3 bu. per acre, crop of 12.072 billion bushels.
That seems about right. Back on Aug. 22, we estimated the national average corn yield at 153.3 bu. per acre and conditions certainly weren't good enough to build on that. In fact, I'd say conditions were poor enough to take about 1 bu. off the national average yield.
But that doesn't mean the yield is done going down. Since USDA wrapped up the survey for the Sept. 1 estimate, conditions weren't any better than they were in the last couple of weeks of August. In fact, with temps well below normal and slowing development of the crop even more, it's starting to look like last year's yield of 151.1 bu. per acre is starting to come "into play" for this year, too.
On the crop size, the 12.072 billion bu. is about 80 million bu. below our Aug. 22 estimate. But, that assumes USDA's August harvested acreage estimate was right. I'm okay with the acreage estimates in Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, S. Dakota and Nebraska, but I would be surprised to see Illinois acres trimmed some and I still expect a few acres to be cut from Iowa and Missouri harvested acreage estimates.
Soybeans: 40 bu. per acre, crop of 2.934 billion bushels.
Again... that seems about right. Back on Aug. 22, we estimated the national average bean yield at 39.95 bu. per acre... so we were 0.05 bu. too low. On crop size, we were just 4 million bu. too low.
We've already started to trim bushels from the estimate, however, and estimate the yield at 39.63 bu. per acre. That would give us a crop of 2.906 billion bushels. I don't think there's any question the yield estimate will continue to drift lower through the end of the season. For one thing, the Iowa average yield estimate of 47 bu. per acre seems too high... maybe by 3 or even 4 bu. per acre.
But, a lower bean yield doesn't necessarily mean a smaller crop estimate. I wouldn't be surprised to see the harvested acreage estimate for soybeans sneak up a bit... but if that happens the national average bean yield will certainly trend down. Those late-planted beans across the Midwest are still as green as a gourd... and they're running out of time to build seed size.
Let me know what you think... drop me a note with your yield expectations.