Iowa corn production for 2015 is forecast at 2.49 billion bushels, 5% above the 2014 production and 3% above the October forecast, according to the latest USDA Crop Production report, released November 10. Harvest is pretty much finished. If these November estimates are realized, this year's production will set a new record high, breaking the state's previous record set in 2009 by 87.5 million bushels. That's a 4% increase in 2015 over the previous record.
Based on conditions as of November 1, Iowa's corn yield in 2015 is expected to average 189 bushels per acre, an increase of 11 bushels per acre from last year and up 6 bushels from the October 1 forecast. If realized, this yield will also set a new record high, exceeding Iowa's previous record of 181 set in 2004 and tied in 2009. Corn planted and harvested for grain acreage in Iowa this year is estimated at 13.6 million and 13.2 million acres, respectively.
Corn crop is larger than last year in 6 Iowa districts
Forecasts for corn production for 2015 are up from 2014 in six of Iowa's nine crop reporting districts, points out Greg Thessen, who directs the survey from the USDA/NASS state office in Des Moines. Corn yields are expected to rise in seven districts for 2015. Northeast and northwest Iowa are anticipated to be tied for the highest yield in the state, with 196 bushels per acre.
All three northern Iowa districts and all three central districts are anticipated to have higher corn yields and corn production than last year, while south-central and southeast Iowa are expected to have lower yields and production than last year. Southwest Iowa has a smaller corn crop than last year, but is forecast with a slightly higher yield compared to 2014.
Largest corn yield increase for 2015 is northeast Iowa
The largest increase in a district yield average for 2015 is expected in northeast Iowa, where yield is anticipated to increase 15% from 2014. The largest decrease in yield is expected in southeast Iowa, where yield is expected to drop 11% from 2014.
Soybean production in Iowa is forecast at 550 million bushels, up 10% from 2014. If realized, this will be the state's highest soybean production on record, 5% above the 525-million bushels produced in 2005. The November 1 forecast yield is 56 bushels per acre, 5.0 bushels above 2014, and up 3.0 bushels from the USDA's October 1 forecast. This anticipated bean yield for 2015 will also set a new record high for Iowa, exceeding the previous record of 52.5 set in 2005. Iowa farmers planted 9.90 million acres of soybeans and plan to harvest 9.82 million acres.
North-central Iowa has largest soybean yield increase
Yields of soybeans this year are forecast to be up from 2014 in seven Iowa districts. Northwest Iowa is expected to have the highest yield in the state, with a yield of 61.5 bushels per acre. All three northern Iowa districts are anticipated to have higher bean yields and production than last year, while southwest Iowa is expected to have a lower yield and production than last year.
The largest increase in yield is expected in north-central Iowa, where yields are forecast to average 10.4 bushels per acre more than 2014. The 2015 bean yield average in that district is estimated at 58 bushels per acre. The largest decrease in yield in Iowa is in southwest Iowa, where yields are expected to decline 3.7 bushels per acre from 2014.
"All crop forecasts in this latest USDA monthly report are based on conditions on November 1 and do not reflect weather effects since that time," says Thessen. USDA's final estimates of yield and crop size for 2015 will be released in January 2016.
Big crops get bigger—that's the story for 2015 harvest
"The November update estimate from USDA found bigger corn and soybean crops than previously estimated," notes Chad Hart, Iowa State University Extension grain marketing economist. "The national corn yield for this year was raised to 169.3 bushels per acre by USDA in November, which added roughly 100 million bushels to estimated U.S. production. State-level yield estimates were higher in the northern and western Corn Belt, but lower to the south and east."
The Iowa corn yield was set at 189 bushels per acre by USDA in the November report, which if that turns out to be the final yield for 2015, "would be a record," notes Hart. The national soybean yield was also increased significantly, to 48.3 bushels per acre, adding again nearly 100 million bushels to the national total soybean production. The yield increases were more uniform across the country for soybeans, but Iowa is again projected to see a record yield for soybeans as well.
Projected prices lowered to $3.65 for corn marketing year
USDA also updated its monthly supply/demand estimates on November 10. The supply strength was coupled with some demand weakness. "For corn, export and ethanol demand were reduced by a combined 125 million bushels by USDA," says Hart. "While feed demand increased 25 million bushels, the growth was not enough to offset the losses. For beans, USDA raised both crush and export demand projections from previous estimates, but the soybean export number for this year remains well below last year's level."
Ending stocks grew for both crops. Corn ending stocks are projected at 1.76 billion bushels for the end of the marketing year on August 31, 2016. Soybean ending stocks were set at 465 million bushels in the November USDA report. And the season-average prices estimates made by USDA were lowered as well. The midpoints on the price ranges are now projected at $3.65 per bushel for corn (down 15 cents from the previous price projection which was made in October) and $8.90 per bushel for soybeans (down 25 cents from USDA's October projection).