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Crops Are Rushing to Maturity – and USDA Sees Strong Yields

corn for grain yield chartThe Crop Progress report for August 12 supports the USDA supply/demand report’s record corn yield and second highest soybean yield.

With 73 percent of the corn in dough stage and 26 percent dented – well above average - USDA rated 70 percent of the crop good/excellent and 10 percent poor/very poor. Nebraska’s crop continues to shine, with 83 percent in the top categories, followed by Iowa at 75 percent and  South Dakota at 69 percent. The Kansas crop continues to suffer, with only 47 percent in the top categories and 22 percent in the bottom two. Producers in very dry, eastern Kansas are chopping corn rather than waiting to harvest for grain.

corn yield - August 1 2018As seen in the map, Nebraska is expected to harvest a record 196 bu./acre; South Dakota, a record 170 bu./acre and Iowa’s yield, unchanged from last year at 202 bu./acre. Kansas farmers may see a 129-bu. yield, down three bushels from last year.


Ninety-six percent of the soybeans are blooming and 84 percent are setting pods. All states in our region are ahead of average.

Much the same pattern is seen in condition ratings for soybeans. In the 18 reporting states, 66 percent are good/excellent and 10 percent are poor/very poor. Kansas has a worse than average rating, with 22 percent in the bottom categories and 40 percent in the top two. South Dakota has 9 percent in the bottom two and 66 percent in the top, followed by Iowa and Nebraska with 7 percent poor/very poor and 72 percent and 80 percent good/excellent, respectively.

soybean yield - August 1 2018Nebraska’s yield, estimated at 61 bu./acre, would be up 3.5 bushels from last year and a record (see map). Iowa’s yield is projected at 59 bu./acre up 2.5; and South Dakota, at 49 bu./acre, would be up 6 bushels. Kansas is expected to harvest 36 bu./acre, down one from last year. Kansas’ best yield in the past 10 years was 48 bu./acre in 2016 – 33 percent above this year’s estimate.

Grain Sorghum

Sorghum condition continues to run well below the prior four years, with good/excellent at under 50 percent. Seventy- eight of the crop is headed (average 73 percent), 37 percent is coloring (average 36 percent) and 21 percent is mature (behind the 24 percent average).


Winter wheat harvest is just six points from completion, with mainly Idaho, Montana and Washington still to go. USDA projects yield down 4.6 percent and production off 6.3 percent. Both Kansas and Nebraska yields are unchanged from last year at 38 bu./acre and 48 bu./acre respectively.

Spring wheat harvest is 35 percent complete (average 27 percent); South Dakota is far ahead of the six-state average and its 52 percent average. Condition for the six states is 75 percent good/excellent and 5 percent poor/very poor. However, South Dakota’s crop is 51 percent in the top categories and 13 percent in the bottom.

crop progress - KS pasture August 2018Pasture and Range

Pasture and range conditions are unchanged from last year. Kansas conditions are almost evenly divided, 31 percent in good/excellent, 34 percent fair and 35 percent poor/very poor. Hay simply is not available in parts of eastern Kansas and some cow/calf producers are selling herds.

Risk Management

In today’s ag economy, risk management is as important as cost control. Frontier Farm Credit seeks to help producers protect their working capital and legacy through holistic risk management – and crop insurance can play a key role in a producer’s risk management plan.


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