Production Journal

August 23, 2013 09:30 PM

By Charlene Finck and Sara Schafer

Yield Estimates Before the Combines Roll

What a year. After record-late planting and numerous weather challenges this year, some farmers are not predicting average or even above-average corn and soybean yields.

On Aug. 12, USDA released its monthly Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand
Estimates report, which included its first round of forecasts for yield. USDA surprised the trade by lowering yield projections for both corn and soybeans.

USDA pegs this year’s corn production at 13.8 billion bushels, up 28% from 2012. That sets a new record for U.S. corn production. The national average corn yield is forecast at 154.4 bu. per acre, a 2.1-bu. decrease from the July estimate. If this yield is reached, it will be the highest average yield since 2009.

For soybeans, USDA estimates total production at 3.26 billion bushels, up 8% from 2012. If realized, that would be the third largest production on record. Soybean yields are forecast to average 42.6 bu. per acre, only 3 bu. higher than this past year’s national average.

Randy Martinson, Progressive Ag executive vice president, says USDA’s yield reductions were quite a surprise. "It is hard to understand how USDA can reduce yields when crop conditions rates are improving—or at worst holding steady," he says.

Barring any risk of early frost, Martinson believes the national average corn yield could reach 163 bu. per acre and the national average soybean yield hit 44 bu. per acre.

From-the-Field Survey

Crop Tour Nav bar

The 2013 Pro Farmer Crop Tour, which ran from Aug. 19–22, provides the industry with accurate late-season information about corn and soybean yields at the state and regional level. The tour covers seven key corn and soybean states. Read the official reports from each state, see photos and watch videos from this year’s Tour.

We Hope You Will Join Us in D.C.

Dec. 4-5, 2013
Loews Madison Hotel, Washington, D.C.

FJ Forum no year

The 2013 Farm Journal Forum will focus on "Feeding Agricultural Innovation" to explore different methods of helping our industry feed the world; discuss opportunities to foster creativity and ingenuity; and identify barriers to access and development of the next generation of progress. The Forum begins with an evening reception on Wed., Dec. 4, and kicks off with a newsmaker breakfast on Thurs., Dec. 5, followed by a full day of high-level speakers. Mark your calendars with this important event date.

To register, call (877) 482-7203 or go to

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