From 1960 to 2015, average corn yields show a fairly stable trend line. That historical context provides a range of reasonable possibilities in 2016, according to University of Illinois ag economists Scott Irwin and Darrel Good. The trend line plots 2016 corn yields at an estimated 166.2 bu. per acre, but corn yields typically beat trend line expectations two-thirds of the time.
The down years, however, tend to be down more dramatically. Looking at past El-Niño-to-La-Niña crop seasons, Irwin and Good say historically probable yield outcomes this year range from 143.2 bu. to 171.7 bu. per acre.
Still, a lot needs to happen before “probability” turns into “reality.”