Crop Progress: Are We Headed For Record Yields?

Crop Progress: Are We Headed For Record Yields?

While USDA continues to show corn and soybean conditions are impeccable, some farmers say crop conditions reports don’t tell the full story.

According to Monday’s USDA Crop Progress Report, 72% of the nation’s corn crop is rated good to excellent. Last year only 61% of the crop was rated good to excellent this same week. Soybeans are doing well too, USDA says. This week’s report shows 70% of the soybean crop is rated good to excellent.

Still, it’s clear by looking at USDA data that there are some problem areas across farm country. Corn crops in Missouri, Kansas, North Carolina and Texas continue to struggle from drought and less than 10% of each state’s corn crop is rated excellent. For comparison, Wisconsin’s crop is rated 31% excellent. The situation is similar for soybeans. Soybean crops in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and North Carolina continue to struggle.

According to Chip Flory, Farm Journal economist and AgriTalk host, farmers at the Leading Edge conference hosted by Pro Farmer last week say their corn and soybean crops are either great or terrible. There aren’t many reporting average crops.

“When we did the early bird session, and everybody was talking about their crop conditions, there was a whole lot of ‘This is going to be an eight to a 10 crop on a one to 10 scale.’ There were the guys that said, ‘This is a three to five crop for us’ and there wasn’t a whole lot in the ‘Well this looks like it’s going to be an average crop right at five’ category,” Flory said on AgriTalk this week. “It seems like they’ve either got a good crop or they’re really suffering this year.”

One Illinois farmer who was on AgriTalk’s farmer forum last week says his crops look great, and in his area, crops will be harvested that have never made it out of the field before.

“We are in a very fortunate area here right now. I’m in my front yard and to have green grass this time of year where we have a lot of sand here in this country is quite unusual,” Rock Ketchnik explained. “We’ve been very fortunate and got a lot of timely rains, and not excessive rains. It’s not been yet, but we’re getting closer every day and this is very, very unusual some of these areas we’re going to harvest crops and we never have before.”

Minnesota farmer Brad Nelson says his crops look average, but on a whole his county will produce sub-average yields.

“We had an opportunity that things look pretty good for me personally, I am basically happy with my corn crop,” he told Flory. “I’ve got a few acres that are lost and some that don’t have good color, but with the soil saturation we’ve had and that sort of thing it’s not surprising. I probably lost, you know, six or 7% of my beans to drown outs.”

Nelson considers his soybean crop average for his farm but doesn’t expect more than average.

“I will say our county you know is going to have sub-average crop,” he added. “I drove northwest to me yesterday for a stretch through the back roads and stuff, and there’s a lot of ugly fields on the route I took.”

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