The Aftermath of Wet Spring: USDA Making Rare Adjustment to Corn Yield

June 11, 2019 02:00 PM

The U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed on Tuesday what many farmers already knew: the extremely wet spring is already eating away at yield potential. Driving through the Corn Belt this year, it seemed no matter than soil type, not many acres were immune to the historically wet spring.

“It's the worst spring I’ve ever seen,” said Rob Korff, a farmer in Norborne, Mo.

Korff said every day this spring threw out a new curveball. With only two workable days during the month of May, and only a two-week window in April to not only spray and apply fertilizer, but plant what they could, the 2019 planting season continues to strain producers.

“We've been so wet all winter and spring where everyone was behind struggling to get on anhydrous, and fertilizer was a struggle and then getting the crop when conditions weren't the best,” he said. “Then, we got the monsoon of rain with one of the wettest Mays on record, and now stands are uneven. Every little low spot showed up. Then a ton of replant in this area with farmers spotting in corn, some tearing up corn. There's people still replanting corn today here on June 11th.”

He said planting conditions weren’t just less than ideal; conditions were horrid, which could have a negative impact on yield.

USDA acknowledged those struggles in its latest report released Tuesday. The agency pegged yield for the 2019 crop at 166 bushels per acre. Crop production is forecast to decline 1.4 billion bushels to 13.7 billion. For Korff, trimming the yield may be just a start as the extreme variability in fields mean a final average yield even on his farm will be hard to forecast.

“It's extremely variable,” he said. “The field to my left, I replanted a bunch of holes in this field the other day and now I have replant corn spiking through the ground right next to corn a foot tall or taller. “It's going to be a screwed-up harvest, too. We’ll have wet corn and dry corn. I don't know how this year will end up.”

For Korff, the best-case scenario for yield at this point hinges on weather over the next two months.

“Typically the field like this, I’d expect it to yield in the 170 to 190 (bushel per acre) range, and this year, I'd be lucky if I could average 140 I think right now; that’s if we have decent weather the rest of growing season, which is always up in the air in Missouri,” he said. “But if the corn rallies, you don't need as many bushels to make up the difference. And soybeans are just too cheap to put beans out there really.”

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Spell Check

cleveland, MS
6/12/2019 09:46 AM

  in reguard to preventive planting payments and MFP payments and comparing government assistance to farmers in the (80's and 2019) /going back to the terrible years of the 80's farmers were allowed to take out disaster loans thru FMHA and SBA if their crop had a certain percentage loss per acre/ 3% loans ( up to 30 year loans) were available /regular farm loans were 15-19% in those years/ for the most part these disaster loans were used to pay off these higher rate loans/ the loans had to be secured by anything the farmer had including his personal home, equipment , land , and anything else / FMHA and SBA would take any lean position they could get including 1st, 2nd,3rd,4th, to secure their loan / the 'catch' was that the farmer 'each year' would have to show these gov. lenders( FMHA) that they could show a positive 'cash flow' with that particular years crop loan (that the farmer was getting from his farm loan lender) in order for the gov. to ' SUBORDINATE' their lean position that they had on the farmers assets in order for their bank to be secured on that years farm loan ? If the crop loan could not show a positive cash flow then FMHA legally could not 'subordinate' their lean position to the bank which in many cases caused the farmer to either file chapter 12 bankruptsy ( reorganize new in 1987) or chapter 7 which wrote off all debt and allowed the farmer to get his crop loan w/o these subordinations / nightmare to say the least!! These young farmers don't have a clue what these older farmers went thru to stay in business back then / just hope they don't have to experience this same nightmare? 0