The grain trade was expecting big numbers for yields after a cool, wet summer in the Corn Belt, and for the most part that's what USDA reported for its first official estimate of the season in the August report. Average projected yields for Illinois and Iowa were off the charts.
The yield for Indiana was higher than last year, Chris Hurt says. He is the Purdue University ag economist who follows the markets closely.
Farmers in areas where the spring rains led to flooding and ponding, however, say while corn looks good in most of the field, they have lost significant holes in the field where water stood. When averaged together with the rest of the field, this may hold yields back from being as high as might otherwise be expected.
The areas which drowned out and won't likely contribute to yield this year were the only areas in some causes with corn in 2012. It represents how different the two seasons were in some areas. Indiana saw more than 50 days of 90-degree temperatures in 2012, with the last one occurring in early August in Indianapolis. This year, Indianapolis had yet to record a 90-degree day as of August 15.
Corn Illustrated 8/12: Number of Rows Per Ear, Kernels Per Row Matter for Yield
Farmers have learned through yield monitors that ponding during the spring that takes out crops usually has more effect on areas around the wet spot than one might think. It's been one of the ways they've convinced first themselves and then landowners that installing more tile drainage, or a complete tile pattern drainage system, would pay in the long run.
What final yields end up being according to USDA may partly depend on how significant those wet spots turn out to be. They may offset a normal trend. In cool, wet summers the yield forecasts from USDA usually increases with subsequent reports until the final report in 2015 for the 2014 crop.
For more corn news, corn crop scouting information and corn diseases to watch for, follow Tom Bechman's column, Corn Illustrated Weekly, published every Tuesday.