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Where's All The Corn?



August 14, 2012 – Comments (3)

On Friday, the US Department of Agriculture's crop report was released and the figures were not good. Taking into account the record-high temperatures across the U.S., a drought that's the worst in decades, and the fact that half of all U.S. counties are considered disaster areas and you can see why. 

Corn production is estimated to have fallen 13 percent from 2011 to the lowest production levels since 2006 and corn yields are expected to average 123.4 bushels per acre, the lowest since 1995. Soybean production is also estimated to have plummeted 12 percent from last year. However, cotton production is up 13% and wheat production came in slightly above estimates.

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 14, 2012 at 8:12 AM, JimmyZangwow (< 20) wrote:

The short answer is, the corn crop as we normally see it does not exist this year. Butif we escape only by having 2006 production levels, I count us very lucky.

Double whammy of low seasonal rain (dry spring, drier summer) and the excessive summer heat in the Corn Belt has hurt. 2006 and 1995 had a heat snap of several weeks right as the grain-filling process was starting for Corn Belt states; however moisture was not a limiting factor as it is this year. Sometimes a poor crop actually stems from a difficult planting season (not as many acres planted due to excessive spring rains and lots of tractors stuck in the mud!). That was the case in 1995. The planting area was reduced and much was planted late, which harms final yield.

Wheat production is unaffected by summer conditions because the crop is mostly harvested by end of June, plus wheat doesn't require the level of moisture that the corn crop does. It's more of a spring crop, except in the Northwest where harvests are later.

Predictions about the cotton crop at this point are based on how many acres were planted, not how productive the crop will ultimately be. If late summer (now til late Sept) and early fall are dry, the cotton harvest will be negatively impacted as well. So if you're into crop futures, keep it in mind.

Let's hope we have a very moist fall, winter, and spring in the Corn Belt and southeastern corn regions (mainly Mississippi Delta). If this year's pattern holds, food, feed, and plastics (produced using oils from corn) are all going to go up in price. The only upside for the average citizen is that diabetes will decrease due to smaller waistlines.

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#2) On August 14, 2012 at 8:55 AM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

this is one more reason why govt. mandates of ethanol content of gasoline is a stupid idea

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#3) On August 14, 2012 at 9:28 AM, Bkeepr100 (< 20) wrote:

Look for these average bushels to drop again as the corn harvest gets closer. The damage is worse than they are allowing for at the USDA.  (can't have the public panic, just yet, you know...)

Here in Ohio there are fields that will yield just 30 bushels an acre or less at harvest. (Normaly, 180 to 200 bushels)  Indiana has been hit very hard. Michigan also will see reduced yields on their crops. 

I've lived and worked on the farm my entire life and have never seen it this dry for this long. Less than 3 inches of rain for a crop that needs 10 to 12 inches for a good harvest of 180 bushels.

The soybeans will have a crop that can be saved, if the rains keep coming in a timely manner. They are hurt by this drought as well, with lower yields than normal.

In short, the price of food will be going up, way up.  While the value of the paper currency in your pocket is going down.

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