Will Drought Creep Hurt Corn Yields?

August 4, 2014 07:00 AM
Will Drought Creep Hurt Corn Yields?

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor reveals dry conditions are spreading beyond the southwestern Plains into states such as Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. That might put a damper on corn and soybean yields, experts tell the U.S. Farm Report Marketing Roundtable.

"Three weeks ago, conditions had been ideal to that point," says Matt Bennett, Total Grain Marketing. "But at this point (producers are) realizing hey, we do need a rain, not so much just because they feel like the corn’s really going to get hurt too bad, but obviously for the beans, and then for the corn it’s probably taking the top end off of it a little bit."

Overall yields are still on track to be impressive, adds Ted Seifried, Zaner Ag Hedge Group. But it’s hard to envision a scenario in which they will break as many records as some analysts have predicted.

"When I’m doing the state-by-state analysis, I have a hard time putting in a number above 170, 171 is about as high as I can get it," Seifried explains. "Our number currently is 168.9, so we’re just shy of the 169 level." Nonetheless, state such as Illinois might well see new highs. In Illinois, for example, Bennett has heard plenty of producers talking about fields with corn yields ranging from 230 bu./acre to 250 bu./acre.

Beyond corn, soybeans face a bigger risk because much of the crop is made in the month of August. Dry conditions should support prices, but watch out for wet conditions, Bennett notes.

"(If) we see a lot of rain in August, you’re going to have a big national yield, and then you probably would have a soybean price that’s going to frighten people," he concludes. Another scare would occur in the event of a damaging frost associated with lingering polar vortices, Seifried adds.

Click the play button below to watch the complete U.S. Farm Report Marketing Roundtable, including an analysis of current demand:

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