August 11, 2011

Nebraska farmers may harvest record corn crop

Nebraska corn farmers are looking at potential yields of 166 bushels per acre, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today. If realized, that would put Nebraska's corn crop at 1.6 billion bushels, a new state record.

A 1.6 billion bushel crop in Nebraska is 9 percent more than last year and 2 percent more than the previous record high set in 2009, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Nebraska Field Office. Yields of 166 bushels per acre would match last year, meaning the boost in production is coming from the corresponding 9 percent increase in planted acres — 10.0 million acres. (The record yield of 178 bushels per acre was set in 2009.)

A solid yield estimate is backed by Nebraska's excellent corn crop condition, with 79 percent of the crop rated good to excellent as of Aug. 7, with 15 percent rated fair and only 6 percent poor to very poor.

Nationally, of course, the word of the day is USDA lowering yield estimates from 158.7 bushels per acre last month to 153.0 this month. That, and a reduction in harvested area, dropped estimated national production to 12.9 billion bushels, off from last month's estimate of 13.5 billion.

While Nebraska saw a big jump in production over last year, so did other important corn states, including Iowa, Illinois and South Dakota. Texas and Kansas, meanwhile, saw significant declines due to poor weather, particularly hot and dry conditions.

Overall, though, the 2011 crop — if realized — is still up 4 percent from last year and the third-largest production total on record.

The 5.7 bushel decline in the national yield estimate was certainly more of a drop than many had expected from USDA. It will be interesting to see how that plays out as farmers start harvest, which will be here soon.

USDA also updated (.pdf) its supply and demand numbers based off the new yield estimate. A recap of the numbers is below, as provided by the Nebraska Corn Board's Kelly Brunkhorst.

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