Farmers and analysts who remember the sad, soggy fields—and poor yields—of 2015 might want to prepare themselves for a very different story this year.
“We are looking at big crops out here,” said Mark Gold of Top Third Ag Marketing, speaking on U.S. Farm Report. “There are isolated spots that are tough, but the vast majority of this crop (is in great shape). In Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa, we are hearing from clients about 300-bushel corn in a lot of areas, and I don’t think it’s going to be that unusual in the states where it’s good.”
Last year, despite the wet weather issues, U.S. farmers produced a bumper crop of 13.6 billion bushels of corn with a national average yield of 168.4 bua. They also harvested 3.9 billion bushels of soybeans with a record average national yield of 48 bua.
With more favorable growing conditions in the Eastern Corn Belt, analysts think growers could surpass those 2015 yield numbers. “When all is said and done, I would be shocked if we didn’t have above-trendline yield in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and, really, nationally,” Gold said. “In Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana, we could see record yields. I think it’s that good.”
What makes analysts so sure that this year’s crop will be so large? Crop conditions, which have been very strong. On Monday, USDA reported that farmers consider 76% of the corn crop in good to excellent condition and 72% of the soybean crop in good to excellent condition.
“Our best gauge is really the crop conditions report,” said Roose, also speaking on U.S. Farm Report. “They’ve been at 76% good to excellent on corn. If you put that on the matrix (that suggests how crop conditions can impact yields), that’s 171 to 172 (bushels per acre) on corn. If you do the same thing on soybeans at 71% good to excellent, that’s 47 to 49 (bushels per acre).”
That’s lot of corn and soybeans.
“Both those are records, so that’s really what you are up against,” said Roose, who expects USDA to raise its corn yield estimates in August, but to hold off on soybeans for now.