April 30, 2014

Preliminary 2014 U.S. Corn and Soy Yield and Acreage Estimates

2014 U.S. Corn - Even though we are still in the early stages of planting the 2014 crops, it is always good to look forward as to what might happen. At the present time, I would estimate the prospective 2014 U.S. corn yield at 163-165 bu/ac, which would be just slightly below the trend line of about 165 bu/ac. Given the slow start to planting, I feel we should start the growing season a little on the conservative side as far as yields are concerned.

The maximum yield for the corn crop probably has been limited somewhat by the slow planting thus far and I would put the top end yield estimate in the upper 160's. On the low end, I would not get too aggressive there either. It looks like we may have an El Nino in place this summer and if that does turn out to be the case; it should result in relatively good growing conditions. Therefore, I would put the low end yield estimate somewhere in the mid-150's.

As far as the corn acreage is concerned, at this time I would use the corn planted acreage of 91.69 million acres that was indicated in the March Planting Intension Report. In seven of the last ten years, U.S. farmers have ended up planting more corn than what had been indicated in the March report, but this year may not be one of those years especially if the weather does not cooperate for rapid planting over the next 2-3 weeks. As far as any potential acreage reductions are concerned, it is way too early to speculate about that. I would not even consider any acreage reductions until we get into the second half of May, and even then, I would be vary cautions about calling for any acreage reductions.

Therefore, if we use 91.69 million planted acres, then the corn acreage harvest for grain would be 83.89 million acres, which is 91.5% of the planted acreage. Using a yield in the range of 163 to 165 bu/ac, then the 2014 U.S. corn production would be in the range of 13.67 to 13.84 billion bushels.

2014 U.S. Soybeans - For the 2014 U.S. soybean crop I would put the early yield estimate in the range of 44 to 45 bu/ac. Planting the soybean crop earlier than normal or later than normal is not nearly as important for the soybeans as it is for the corn. As long as the soybeans get planted by generally early June, it is the weather later in the summer that will determine the eventual soybean yield. The maximum soybean yield will be determined by how good the weather is from late July through August and for now; I would put the maximum soybean yield at 46 bu/ac. The minimum is impossible to say at this point, but like for corn, I would not get too aggressive on the down side so I would put the minimum yield at 40 bu/ac.

For the soybean acreage, I would also use the March Planting Intensions estimate of 81.49 million acres. With that as the soybean planted acreage, then the harvested acreage is estimated at 80.26 million acres which is 98.5% of the planted acreage. If we use a yield in the range of 44 to 45 bu/ac, then the 2014 U.S. soybean production is estimated in the range of 3.53 to 3.61 billion bushels.