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Yield loss considerations-Bryan Doherty

The corn crop has been very resilient, especially the last 20 years of fighting bouts of drought, late planting and flooding. Yet, corn has been a relatively reliable crop. 

Improved genetics, tillage practices and good farmers have helped to produce near or record crops on a continual basis. However, in 2011, we're beginning to wonder if this is a year that, no matter how good conditions may be from this point forward, the odds of high yield across the nation just are not high. 

Farmers have struggled, since early spring, with conditions that have been too wet, too cold, too hot, too dry and most recently, windy with high temperatures. There is a concern that recent weather may have affected pollination. Drought conditions in the South continue to permeate northward with high temperatures engulfing almost all of the crop this week. Yet, many producers have told us their corn has fared well, with some farmers in the North indicating their crop has shown an improvement. Most of these producers were lacking heat units prior to mid July. Still, the odds of a high yield are slipping. It's unlikely the crop will be able to rebound this late in the season. 

Good to excellent crop ratings dropped from 69% to 66%. The real story may lie in the poor to very poor categories, which saw a 2% increase this week. If cooler temperatures prevail along with rain, the good to excellent ratings could jump back over 70%; bearish. However, it's unlikely that corn rated in the poor to very poor category will have much of a chance to improve from this point forward. 

It looks likely this year's crop will yield 158 bushels or less. Some analysts would argue that another heat wave could push yield down to 150, below last year's 152.5. Without a large crop, carryout will remain tight and prices volatile. For corn producers, the good news is that the downside price is limited to the $5.00 to $5.50 area. For end users, the bad news is that they need to be on alert, as prices could reflect further weather concerns. End users need to have management strategies in order to shift risk of skyrocketing prices. They will also need to be aggressive buying price dips. The stage is already set for a must-have crop in 2012. 


If you have questions or comments please contact Bryan Doherty at 1-800-TOP-FARM ext. 129.

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