October 9, 2009

Nebraska yield estimate jumps to 178 bu./acre

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture today estimated Nebraska's average corn yield at 178 bushels per acre -- 9 bushels more than its estimate last month. If realized, it would easily break the state's previous record of 166 bu. per acre set in 2004.

With the increase in yields came only a slight bump in production - to 1.58 billion bushels. That, too would be a record, surpassing the 1.47 billion produced in 2007. The reason production didn't jump further is because USDA lowered it's planted and harvested acre estimates, with harvested acres dropping to 8.9 million, off from last month's 9.1 million.

(In case you were wondering, in 2007, when Nebraska set its last production record, harvested acres were 9.2 million -- meaning if estimates hold we'll produce 110 million more bushels of corn this year on 300,000 fewer harvested acres.)

Nationally, USDA increased its yield estimate to a record 164.2 bushels per acre, up from last month's 161.9. Harvested acres were reduced to 79.29 million (from 80.00). That pegs total U.S. corn production at 13.02 billion bushels. That's an 8 percent increase from last year and only a stone's throw from the record of 13.07 billion set in 2007.

(Harvested acres in 2007 were 86.54 million - meaning we'll grow as much corn this year as two years ago but do so on 7.25 million fewer acres. Improvements in everything from hybrids to management practices helps this along, but Mother Nature played an important role this year, too.)

On the demand side of the equation, USDA increased feed/residual use 50 million bushels to 5.4 billion and food/seed/industrial use by 5 million bushels to 5.48 billion (the increase was for corn sweetener because sugar supplies are tight). Ethanol use, a subset of food/seed/industrial, was left unchanged at 4.2 billion. Exports were lowered 50 million bushels to 2.15 billion.

The bottom line figure - ending stocks - increased to 1.67 billion bushels. The estimated average price remained unchanged at $3.35. That's 71 cents below last year and 85 cents below 2007.

For the full crop production report, click here.
For the supply and demand report, click here.

No matter what USDA reports, a farmer in Nebraska noted that first and foremost on his mind - and the minds of farmers he's talked to across the Corn Belt - is getting the crop harvested and in the bin. This is especially true for those facing standability issues.

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