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Crop Update: Crops Irregular Heading into Harvest

USDA has raised its estimates for corn yields, forecasting 14.2 billion bushels, down 6 percent from last year but up nearly 1 percent from the August forecast. Yields are expected to average 169.9 bu./per acre, up 0.4 bushel from the August forecast but down 4.7 bushel in 2016.

UDSA’s forecast is based on conditions of September 1 and does not account for the impact of Harvey and Irma. If the projection is realized, U.S. producers would record their third highest yield on record.

However, corn progress is lagging in the more advanced stages of maturity. Only 21 percent of the corn crop in the 18 reported states has matured, versus 31 percent on average. Seventy-five percent is dented, against 81 percent average; and 96 percent is in dough stage, just one point behind average.

With the crop insurance spring guarantees at $3.96 for corn and $10.10 for beans, those who bought Revenue Protection could file claims on the basis of price and only small yield losses.

Dryland corn yields will be a mixed bag, according to members of Frontier Farm Credit's Agribusiness Capital team. In some cases, August weather benefitted corn, as well as soybean yields. A southeast Kansas dryland producer reported his yield usually runs 110-120 bu./acre; this year, his average is about 160 bu. In other areas, it remains to be seen whether rain helped with kernel size.

Irrigated corn yields are expected to be among the best in several years in Nebraska.

Iowa corn reflects the great disparity seen in rainfall. The southeast quarter of the state has fallen short of its long-term average by as much as 7.7 inches during April 15 to September 10. In USDA’s Crop Conditions report this week, it rates 50 percent of the Iowa crop good/excellent, down from 73 percent in its first condition report at the end of May. The poor/very poor categories now stand at 13 percent, up from 3 percent in the first report.

Here’s how USDA corn ratings for states in our service area and nationally have deteriorated:

CORN Good/excellent Poor/very poor
  May 30 September 10 May 30 September 10
IOWA 73 60 3 13
KANSAS 55 54 10 18
NEBRASKA 76 64 4 12
SOUTH DAKOTA 67 43 6 26
UNITED STATES 65 61 7 13


Soybeans Condition Sliding

Soybean production is forecast to be a record 4.43 billion bushels, up 1 percent from August and 3 percent from last year. Based on September 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 49.9 bu./per acre, up 0.5 bushel from last year but down 2.2 bushels from last year.

USDA reports 22 percent of soybeans are dropping leaves, compared with 25 percent average for the 18 states. Iowa’s crop is only 8 percent vs. an average of 14 percent, and South Dakota is at 26 percent, well behind its 44 percent average. Kansas and Nebraska are 4 percent and 3 percent ahead of average.

Ratings for soybeans have drifted somewhat lower over the season. A farmer in east-central Iowa reports his beans have dehydrated instead of turning yellow. He didn’t get the August rains that helped some.

SOYBEANS Good/excellent Poor/very poor
  June 15 September 10 June 15 September 10
IOWA 69 61 4 13
KANSAS 60 49 2 16
NEBRASKA 74 63 2 10
SOUTH DAKOTA 43 50 15 17
UNITED STATES 66 60 6 12


Grain Sorghum

The milo crop is looking somewhat better than corn or soybeans, with a rating of 66 percent good/excellent and 7 percent poor/very poor this week in the top 11 sorghum-producing states. In our territory: Kansas, 59 percent and 9 percent; Nebraska, 68 and 3 percent; and South Dakota, 14 and 34 percent.


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