By Steve Johnson
EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Johnson is an Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist. Contact him at 515-957-5790 or [email protected].
The old saying is "big crops get bigger and small crops get smaller" as USDA updates its monthly crop size estimates for corn and soybeans in September, October and November. The final estimate for the year is released in January. There is no corn and soybean estimate in USDA's December Crop Production report.
USDA's latest monthly crop production report for 2014, released October 10, estimates a record U.S. corn and soybean crop is being harvested this fall. Iowa is also producing a record large corn crop. Iowa's soybean crop in 2014 is close to being record-large. USDA has increased its estimate for corn and soybeans for three consecutive months this year, as timely rains and moderate temperatures have boosted yields higher, helping to offset a drop in the estimated number of acres.
Acreage for 2014 is reduced, but good yields offset it
Over the past couple of months, there had been significant discussion of crop acreage numbers and whether the USDA estimates would be adjusted downward for 2014. That adjustment occurred in the most recent USDA crop report, the October report. Iowa State University Extension grain marketing economist Chad Hart provides the following explanation of what happened.
For corn, planted and harvested area in the U.S. for 2014 were reduced by 700,000 acres from the previous estimate. A similar downward adjustment took place for soybeans. But in both cases, the acreage losses were offset by higher yields so total production continued to climb.
The national average corn yield was raised 2.5 bushels to 174.2 bushels per acre. The corn yield estimates were raised in 22 states. And 22 states are projected to set state records as well. Illinois is projected at 200 bushels per acre. The jump in soybean yields isn't quite as dramatic, but the end result is the same, larger production. The national average is projected at 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushels. Based on this October estimate, 13 states are expected to have record soybean yields.
This year's U.S. corn and soybean crops are largest ever
Putting it all together, USDA estimates a 14.475 billion bushel corn crop and a 3.927 billion bushel soybean crop for the U.S. in 2014. Both, by far, are the largest crops the U.S. has ever produced. In comparison, the demand projections issued by USDA on October 10 were little changed from a month earlier. Corn feed and residual use was increased by 50 million bushels in October by USDA. That was the only shift in projected demand for the 2014 crops, compared to the September numbers.
What is USDA currently projected for season average prices for the 2014 corn and soybean crops? How does USDA's price projection issued on October 10 compare with the price projection USDA released a month earlier?
Average price for corn projected around $3.40, soybeans $10
Estimates for the 2014-15 marketing year average prices dropped 10 cents for corn to a midpoint of $3.40 per bushel. For soybeans, the price estimates held steady, with a midpoint of $10 per bushel. Thus, USDA is now projecting an average price for corn around $3.40 per bushel and for beans, around $10 per bushel. The marketing year for the 2014 crop runs from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015.
All crop forecasts in the October USDA report are based on October 1 conditions and do not reflect weather effects since that time. The next corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of November 1, will be released on November 10.
A closer look at Iowa 2014 crop production estimates
Iowa corn production is forecast at a record 2.44 billion bushels, according to USDA's October Crop Production report. Based on conditions as of October 1, yields are expected to average 185 bushels per acre, an increase of 20 bushels per acre from last year, but unchanged from the September forecast. If realized, the yield will be the highest on record, 3 bushels above the previous high set in 2009. Corn planted acreage is estimated at 13.6 million acres. An estimated 13.2 million acres will be harvested for grain, a 1% increase from 2013.
Soybean production is forecast at 504 million bushels, a 20% increase from the previous year. The October 1 yield forecast of 51.0 bushels per acre is up 5.5 bushels from 2013, but unchanged from the September forecast. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.95 million acres with 9.89 million acres to be harvested. Both planted and harvested acres are down 1% from the September forecast. An estimated 9.89 million acres will be harvested, an increase of nearly 7% from 2013.
Production of alfalfa and alfalfa mixture dry hay is forecast at 2.48 million tons, up 3% from the previous year. Yield is expected to average 3.40 tons per acre, up 0.10 ton from last year. Harvested area is forecast at 730,000 acres, unchanged from 2013.
Production of other hay is forecast at 770,000 tons, down 20% from last year. Based on October 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 2.20 tons per acre. Harvested area is forecast at 350,000 acres, down 20% from 2013.
A look at district estimates for Iowa corn and soybeans
Iowa's corn production is forecast at a record 2.44 billion bushels, 13% above last year's production according to USDA. As of October 1, Iowa's corn crop is forecast to yield a record 185 bushels per acre, 20 bushels higher than in 2013 but unchanged from the September 1 forecast. If realized, the yield will be 3 bushels higher than the previous high set in 2009. Corn planted and harvested for grain acreage is estimated at 13.6 million and 13.2 million acres, respectively.
Forecasted corn production and yield is up from 2013 in all Iowa districts. Three districts are forecast to have record yields, and all remaining districts are in the top four highest yielding years. Central and southeast Iowa are anticipated to have the highest yields in the state, with 195 bushels per acre. West-central Iowa is anticipated to have the largest production in the state, with 385 million bushels.
Soybean production for Iowa is forecast at 504 million bushels, a 20% increase from the previous year. The October 1 yield forecast of 51.0 bushels per acre is up 5.5 bushels from 2013, but unchanged from the September forecast. Soybean planted acreage is estimated at 9.95 million acres with 9.89 million acres to be harvested. Both planted and harvested acres are down 1% from the September forecast.
Production and yield is forecast to be up in all Iowa districts. Northwest Iowa is expected to have the highest average yield, at 53.5 bushels per acre, followed by west-central Iowa at 53.0 bushels. Northwest Iowa is anticipated to have the largest production, with 83.7 million bushels.
A closer look at U.S. 2014 crop production estimates
Corn production for the U.S. is forecast at 14.475 billion bushels, up less than 1% from the previous forecast and up 4% from 2013. Based on conditions as of October 1, USDA says yields are expected to average 174.2 bushels per acre, up 2.5 bushels from the September forecast and 15.4 bushels above the 2013 average. If realized, this will be the highest yield and production on record for the United States.
Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.1 million acres, down 1% from the September forecast and down 5% from 2013. Acreage updates were made in several states following a thorough review of all available data.
Soybean production for the U.S. in 2014 is forecast at a record 3.927 billion bushels, up slightly from September and up 17% from last year. Based on October 1 conditions, yields are expected to average a record high 47.1 bushels per acre, up 0.5 bushel from last month and up 3.1 bushels from last year. Area for harvest in the United States is forecast at a record 83.4 million acres, down less than 1% from September but up 9% from last year. Acreage updates were made in several states by USDA, based on a thorough review of all available data.
For farm management information and analysis visit ISU's Ag Decision Maker site at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm; ISU farm management specialist Steve Johnson's site is at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farm-management.