October 8, 2010

Nebraska corn yields, production may be second-largest on record

In a news release today, the Nebraska Corn Board said that if realized, a projected yield of 170 bushels per acre and estimated production of 1.51 billion bushels would be second in the state's record books – behind only last year’s bumper crop.

The yield estimate, from USDA's crop report today, is lower than USDA's previous estimate of 179 bushels but is still quite high when compared to previous yields.

In 2008, for example, corn yields averaged 163 bushels, while yields in 2007 were 160 bushels per acre. (Last year's record was an extraordinary 178-bushel average across the state.)

Should the 170 bushel yield estimates hold through harvest, Nebraska farmers will produce a 1.51 billion bushel crop this year. “That would be the second-largest crop in state history and behind last year’s record 1.58 billion bushels,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board.

Brunkhorst said while USDA did lower its yield estimate for Nebraska, reports from fields make it clear that 179 bushels was perhaps too optimistic for the state this year.

“While we had pretty good weather overall in Nebraska, a couple of weeks of hot weather right after pollination may have taken the top off yields a bit. Yet 170 bushels per acre is pretty darn good, obviously, when you consider it’s the second-highest ever," he said.

Nationally, USDA estimated yields at 155.8 bushels per acre, below last year’s record of 164.7. If realized, that would put the U.S. corn crop at 12.7 billion bushels. As forecast both those figures would be the third-largest on record.

“While the yield reduction appears to tighten the corn market a bit, we’re confident about the current supply picture,” Brunkhorst said. “At the same time, we’ll have good supplies of other corn products, including some 4.2 million tons of distillers grains being produced by Nebraska ethanol plants this year alone.”

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