Farmers throughout the south have seen big gains in statewide average yields. Most of the states in the region planted fewer corn acres, lowering total production.
From Kentucky to Georgia and North Carolina to Louisiana, farmers are seeing impressive yield bumps due to timely rains. In Louisiana, a state not known for corn production, yields are 27 bushels per acre higher.
For producer Kyle Lemione, the 2017 corn crop could be the best he’s ever had. Favorable conditions throughout the early growing season got the crop off to a quick start, and he and other growers in Louisiana are reaping the benefits of early planting.
“You have a chance to catch some of the better rainfall that still happens in the early spring, and the cooler temperatures give you a better pollination on the corn crop—you kind of beat the insect pressure,” said Lemione.
Timely and ample rainfall have also contributed to higher yields and reduced the costs of producing the crop, according to Dan Fromme, corn specialist with the Louisiana State University AgCenter.
“You don’t have to roll that pipe out—you don’t have to pump that water,” he said. “That’s always a good feeling when you don’t have to spend that money on water.”
Not all of the state’s corn crop is irrigated, but Fromme does not believe there will be a significant difference between the yields of irrigated and nonirrigated fields.
“Central Louisiana south doesn’t have much irrigation, and when that yield monitor is well over 200 bushels and not being irrigated, you get excited pretty quick,” said Fromme.
High yields will help offset the low prices farmers are receiving from their corn. Some farmers are storing their corn in hopes of higher prices in the future.
“I’m going to sit on my corn awhile to see if we can get a better price on it as the season progresses,” said Lemione.
Growers are expected to wrap up harvest the end of August.