#Harvest19: Low Test Weights Could Drop Corn Carryover Significantly

03:03PM Nov 13, 2019
Harvest 2017
Mother Nature continues to keep farmers out of fields--especially when it comes to corn harvest. With so much late-planted and immature crop yet to pick, time will tell what this means for national yield average.
( Sonja Begemann )

The latest crop progress report pegs corn at 66% and soybeans at 85%, both an improvement over last week but behind the 5-year average. With so much corn yet to harvest—namely late-planted crops—there’s a story to tell about final yield.

“USDA did iterations with a lot of crop in the field—how did they estimate average ear weight?” said Bill Biedermann, of AgMarket.net, to AgDay Host Clinton Griffiths. “We’re just getting into later planted corn and test weights in North Dakota [for example] are 45 to 53 pounds. Wisconsin has 54 to 59 pounds and they haven’t gotten into late or immature corn yet.”

All told, about he expects about half of the Corn Belt is running below average test weights, which could change final national yield average and production.

“If you average test weights into total U.S. production and it affects just one pound per bu. that’s 1.7%, down to a 165-kind of yield,” Biedermann said. “That changes USDA numbers, dropping production down 300 million bu. [However,] our early calculations show this could about to two pounds, or four bu. per acre lower.”

Don’t forget the effect low test weight has on livestock feeders, too. While energy tests aren’t coming in droves yet, Biedermann expects producers will need to feed and grind more because energy (starch) content is low. He says farmers could see corn carryover dive to 1.3 to 1.5 billion bu. instead of 1.9 billion.

Soybean carryover has dropped but markets aren’t responding.

Farmers have been able to harvest more soybean than corn, and they’ve found customers for the carryover. Unfortunately, it hasn’t led to a huge jump in market prices.

“Carryover was 1.5 billion and it was lowered to 913 million, and now the new carry over is 475 million—so a 50% to 60% drop,” Biedermann said. “That’s the largest drop ever recorded, but we’re only trading 30 cents higher than a year ago.”

From this point forward, he says farmers need to focus on what late soybean yields are running what is finally decided on the U.S. and China trade agreement.

Some states have further to go.

Mother Nature hasn’t been fair. Here are the states that are furthest behind on harvest:

  • Corn
    • North Dakota 15%
    • Wisconsin 30%
    • Michigan 33%
  • Soybeans
    • North Carolina 54%
    • Wisconsin 71%
    • Missouri 72%

Harvest continues to be a bear for producers across the U.S. Stay safe as you trudge forward to the finish line.


Read more about harvest here:

Co-Op And Community Rally To Harvest Farmer’s Crop

Ferrie: Some Farmers Will Wait A Week For Fuel To Dry Corn

Farmer on River Bottoms: "If I Can't Get Insurance, I Won't Farm It"

Crop Progress 111319