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October 15, 2019

Reaction to October Crop Report increase in 2019 U.S. Corn Yield

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

The 2019 U.S. corn yield was increased slightly, which was a surprise, but the impact of the winter storm on crop production in the northwestern Corn Belt was not taken into account in this report. The heavy snow and winds are going to cause damage to both crops and the season-ending freeze will keep some of the latest developing crops from reaching complete maturity. Therefore, I think the production estimates for both corn and soybeans in the November Crop Report will be lower than in the October Crop Report.

Reaction to the October 2019 U.S. Corn Production from USDA - The USDA lowered the corn production from 13.79 billion bushels in September to 13.77 billion bushels in October. They increased the 2019 U.S. corn yield 0.2 bushels to 168.4 bu/ac. They lowered the planted acreage 63,000 acres to 89.9 million. They lowered the harvested acreage 202,000 acres to 81.8 million. They lowered the percent harvested from 91.1% in September to 90.9% in October.

Take away:

  • The planted acreage could move a little lower in November and January reports.
  • The harvested acreage could move lower due to a reduction in the percent harvested. They lowered the percent harvested to 90.9% and I am using 89.5% harvested. There may be some additional acres lost due to the snowstorm, but it is hard to say at this point how many acres.
  • The corn yield could move lower due to several factors including: lighter ear weights due to killing freeze that impacted some of the late maturing corn, snow and winds that could have resulted in lodging and ear droppage, cold and wet conditions that will delay harvest even more with potential quality issues.
  • I suspect that some of the corn will be harvested at high moisture, so some of the farmer's yield estimated may be somewhat inflated due to excess grain moisture. The grain will eventually dry, so the farmers may take fewer bushels out of storage than they thought they put in. The lower test weights and potential quality issues could also result in more corn needed to be fed, but that will not show up until the quarterly stocks reports next year. As a result, there may be another surprise reduction in corn supply in September of 2020 just like we saw a few weeks ago.
  • I think the combination of the killing freeze and the snowstorm could result in as much as a 3-5 bu/ac reduction in the nationwide corn yield.
  • The USDA is using a yield of 168.4 bu/ac and for now I am staying with yield of 162.0 bu/ac. I feel my yield might be a little on the low side, but unfortunately, we won't know the full impact of the recent weather until the corn is harvested.