Despite hot and dry weather this past summer, U.S. corn yields hit a record high this year at 175.4 bushels per acre, according to USDA’s November Crop Report update. If realized, this will be the highest average yield on record for the United States.
Corn production for 2017 is estimated at 14.6 billion bushels, down 4% from last year but up 2% from the October USDA forecast. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.1 million acres, unchanged from the previous estimate but down 4% from 2016.
Soybean production for the U.S. in 2017 is estimated to be a record 4.43 billion bushels, down less than 1% from October but up 3% from last year. Based on Nov. 1 conditions, the U.S. average bean yield is estimated at 49.5 bushels per acre, unchanged from last month but down 2.5 bushels from last year. Area harvested for soybeans in the U.S. this year is forecast at a record-high 89.5 million acres, unchanged from October.
Iowa corn, soybean crops surprisingly big
Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.54 billion bushels in 2017, according to USDA’s November estimate. Based on conditions in early November, Iowa’s corn yield this year is averaging 197 bushels per acre, up 6 bushels per acre from the October forecast but down 6 bushels from last year. If realized, this will be the second-highest yield and production on record for Iowa, behind 2016. Acres of corn harvested for grain remain unchanged from the October estimate of 12.9 million acres.
Iowa soybean production is forecast at 557 million bushels in 2017. If realized, this will be the state’s second-highest production on record behind last year’s 566 million bushels. The yield is forecast at 56 bushels per acre, unchanged from the October forecast but down 4 bushels per acre from 2016. If realized, this will be Iowa’s third-highest state average soybean yield on record, behind 2016 and 2015. Area harvested remained unchanged at 9.95 million acres of soybeans — comparing the October and November estimates for 2017.
District crop production estimates for Iowa
Corn yields are forecast to be up in five of the nine Iowa crop reporting districts, comparing USDA’s November estimates to those released in October. Northeast Iowa is estimated to have the highest corn yield in the state for 2017, with an average of 213 bushels per acre. The district with the largest corn production is central Iowa, at 385 million bushels, according to November’s estimate.
Soybean yields are up in five Iowa districts compared to the October estimates. Central and east-central Iowa are estimated to have the highest soybean yields in the state in 2017, with 60 bushels per acre. The district with the largest production is west-central Iowa, at 89.5 million bushels of soybeans, according to November’s estimate.
Final estimates for 2017 to be released in early 2018
“These forecasts in the November Crop Report are based on Nov. 1 conditions and don’t reflect the weather effects since that time,” says Greg Thessen, director of the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Upper Midwest regional office in Des Moines.
The next USDA corn and soybean production estimates for Iowa will be published in the Crop Production 2017 Summary report, which will be released Jan. 12. The final district and county estimates for 2017 will be released in February.
Another big carryover supply expected next August
Crop yields have risen dramatically in recent years, notes Chad Hart, Iowa State University Extension grain marketing specialist. That’s because of improved crop genetics, better pest management, improved machinery and increasingly efficient farming techniques. Rising yields have allowed the U.S. to continue providing a surplus of grain despite a rising global population, increasing livestock herds that are largely-grain-fed and the additional demand from biofuel production.
This year’s U.S. corn harvest is projected to exceed 14.3 billion bushels, notes Hart, which could leave a carryover of more than 2.3 billion bushels of corn at the end of the marketing year on Aug. 31. Fears of oversupply knocked corn to a new low price of near $3.40 per bushel when the November USDA Crop Production estimates were released recently, cutting deeper into farmers’ profitability, especially for those who waited until harvest to price their grain.