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Bryan Doherty: Early harvest feedback

The warm and dry August weather has helped push the corn crop ahead of schedule. Consequently, farmers are in the field harvesting sooner than usual. This is especially true in southern parts of the Midwest, where dry weather engulfed much of the growing season since the end of July. For many, this spring allowed for an early start to planting as well. This year’s crop is ahead of schedule due to early planting and rapid dry-down.

We have talked to many producers in the region of southern Illinois and Indiana. They are well on their way with harvest, and the feedback has been relatively consistent. They have a good crop, yet it is not the crop they were expecting at the end of July. With warm nights and lack of moisture, it appeared the corn crop was somewhat vulnerable to losing its top-end yield, and that appears to be exactly what happened. As an example, most producers that we have visited with indicated their crop is averaging 160 bushels per acre. However, they were looking at 175 or 185 just a month ago. In many years, we have often heard the term “pleasantly surprised” when producers share their yield results. So far this year, we are not hearing that.

It is still early in the season. As combines move north, we are likely to hear more consistent higher-end yields. However, when looking at the global picture, part of the reason the corn market has been trending upward for the last two months is because supplies continue to dwindle. Perhaps more accurately, the perception is that supplies continue to get smaller. A drought in much of Russia may suggest more demand for corn. Corn may be a sought-after commodity in the feed pipeline. We also expect that China will continue to remain on razor’s edge with its supply. Therefore, if yield in that part of the world is less than expected, this could add a little more fuel to the fire. Yet, as harvest picks up speed, we do expect to hear a number of farmers report to us a record yield. Weather in August is always tricky. It appeared last year to add bushels, while this year, it may have taken them away.

If you have comments, questions or suggestions, contact Bryan Doherty at 1-800-Top-Farm, Ext. 129. 

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