Iowa Corn Yields Drop, Outlook for National Yield in Question

August 19, 2010 04:02 PM

 The big news out of Iowa on the last of the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is that there really isn’t big news for that state. Most crop scouts on the eastern tour largely saw what they expected to see.

With the final numbers, though, commodity analysts on the tour fully expect the nationwide yield to drop based on the overall numbers collected this week.  

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour yields in Iowa averaged 169.39 bu./acre this year, compared to 180.97 a year ago on the tour. That's a 6.4% drop from last year. Minnesota corn yield was 185.46 bu./acre, compared to 185.31 bu./acre last year.   

The models Peter Meyer, ag products specialist, with JP Morgan, runs have the corn crop at 162.22 bu./acre this year. But after what he saw this week and what he's hearing around the country, he expects that to drop as low as 161.5 bu./acre. With his estimated 80.6 million corn acres, he expects the nationwide corn harvest this year to total 13.01 billion bu. USDA's August estimates put corn usage at 13.490 billion bu., which will drop carryover supplies to under 1 billion bushels.  

Tom Grisafi, a local trader from Valparaiso, Ind. "There's no shortage of grain in the U.S., it's that there is so much demand and so much new international business, there's not a lot of room for error. It's very possible we'll have $5.00 bu. corn next year with any minor adjustment of USDA's yield. If these numbers out of Iowa are correct, it may not move today or tomorrow, but from a trader perspective it's a buy dips kind of market."

As for the tour routes today, Roger Bernard, east tour director however, says he saw a lot of variability on his tour. "Corn was extremely variable on our route we ranged 103 to 238. Milk line was coming down the kernels. Maturity is moving along but it’s not as far along as we saw in Ohio, Indiana and parts of Illinois. There’s some good corn out there, but there’s also come corn that has some problems. It’s going to be good to see what it does when it comes through the combine and that’s going to be the ground truth when it happens."

"We saw what should have saw on corn, says Richard Guse, a farmer from Waseca, Minn., "if we compare last year to this year. All of our sample were 5 bu. over what District 3 (northeast Iowa) was last year. Not a lot of variability on corn. It was right where we should have been on yield."

When compared to the previous day, south of I-80 in eastern Iowa, the corn was vastly improved, he says.

Kyle Wendland, a farmer from Fredricksburg, Iowa, also saw corn improve as his group moved north. "South of Highway 3 we ran into a lot of 160s. North of there we saw 170s, some 180s and had a couple break 200. We saw more nitrogen problems south, that was really the dividing line for the June heavy rains."

Corn was average, says Doug Miller, a farmer from Greene, Iowa. "We started 30 miles north of Iowa City. Corn was nothing spectacular, but it was better than when we came into Iowa. It was pretty consistent…mostly in the 170-180 bu./acre range. As far as maturity, the further north we got. It isn’t hurting at all, but it’s two weeks behind what we’ve seen on the rest of the tour." 

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