According to USDA's latest monthly update—the October Crop Production Report released on October 12--corn production in the U.S. for 2011 is estimated at 12.4 billion bushels, down 1% from the September estimate of 12.5 billion bushels. The October estimate is slightly below the amount of corn for grain harvested in 2010. The U.S. average corn yield is now estimated at 148.1 bushels per acre, unchanged from the September forecast.
The monthly crop report is based on conditions as of the first of each month, which is when the surveys are taken in fields, explains Greg Thessen, director of the Iowa Office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines. "The total U.S. corn crop, at 12.4 billion bushels, would be the fourth largest in history and just a shade smaller than last year's harvest," he notes.
U.S. soybean production for 2011 is forecast at 3.06 billion bushels down 1% from the September estimate of 3.09 billion bushels and down 8% from last year, says Thessen. The average soybean yield for the U.S. is now estimated at 41.5 bushels per acre, down from the 41.8 bushels per acre predicted last month.
Iowa corn crop pegged at 2.3 billion bushels, unchanged from September
For Iowa, soybean production in 2011 is now estimated at 467.6 million bushels, compared to 464.6 million bushels forecast in September. Iowa's statewide average yield estimate for soybeans is for an average of 50.5 bushels per acre, down from the September prediction of 51 bushels per acre.
For Iowa, corn production is estimated at 2.3 billion bushels, unchanged from the September report. Iowa's statewide average expected yield for corn is estimated at 169 bushels per acre, compared to the September estimate of 167 bushels per acre. "USDA raised Iowa's forecast corn yield to 169 bushels per acre for the 2011 crop, two bushels per acre more than its previous 2011 estimate and four bushels above Iowa's 2010 yield," says Thessen. "The 2011 yield of 169 bushels per acre, however, will still fall short of the record 182 bushels per acre set in 2009, and the 171 bushels per acre in 2008 and 2007."
USDA's October estimate of the 2011 corn crop upheld what Iowa farmers have said for several weeks. That is, the crop this year will be average at best. This year's U.S. crop and harvest have been watched with special intensity because of a 15-year low in the domestic corn supply and a strong worldwide demand for corn. Those two factors have combined to double corn prices in the last 16 months and push up prices of meat and other retail food items.
Iowa will lead nation in corn production in 2011 with 2.3 billion bushels
Iowa will lead the nation in corn production with 2.3 billion bushels in 2011, according to the USDA estimate. The U.S. crop will be 12.4 billion bushels, fourth largest in U.S. history. USDA reports that Iowa lost about 450,000 acres of the 14 million originally planted to corn this year, primarily to flooding along the Missouri River. Hail and windstorms in various areas of the state also took a toll, plus field fires that struck some cornfields during the very dry month of September.
The corn growing season was also hampered by a heat wave that hit during pollination in July. "My corn is a little better than I had thought it would be, around 160 bushels per acre, but its still not as good as last year," says Bill Kempf, who farms in western Dallas County in central Iowa. "The heat really hurt us."
Roger Fray, grain buyer with West Central Co-op at Ralston, says he's pleasantly surprised at corn yields farmers are reporting this fall. "We're looking at an average of about 185 bushels per acre in our area," he says. "That's up from 172 bushels per acre last year, but down from 193 bushels per acre two years ago."
Iowa's estimated bean yield is slightly lower in October than September
USDA estimates that Iowa's soybean yield average will be down slightly this fall, to 50.5 bushels per acre compared to 51 bushels per acre harvested in 2010. But the state's total of 467 million bushels harvested in 2011 will lead the U.S. despite being about 30 million bushels lower than the 2010 soybean harvest. Thus, based on the October USDA estimates, Iowa is projected to lead all states in both corn and soybean production in 2011.
Regarding the slightly lower soybean yield estimate for October compared to a month earlier, Iowa Soybean Association president Dean Coleman, a farmer from Humboldt, says, "As one Iowa producer, I saw better than expected yields in the early maturing soybean varieties, but lower than expected yields in the later varieties. That's possibly due to the early frost we had in September, after the September yield estimates were gathered. But it's also because of the rapid dry down we had in the beans this fall due to the unusually warm, dry weather."
While the USDA estimates a slight increase in soybean world ending stocks, ISA director of market development Grant Kimberley says, "We expect demand for soybeans will pick up at the lower prices we've seen recently. Some experts continue to write off China's demand growth, but after visiting China for the past four years, we have seen that demand is not going away. There may be an ebb and flow through the year, but in the end, we will still see continued increases in demand for corn and soybeans as their livestock industry grows and their growing population has a growing appetite for meat."