Crop tour results in lowered forecasts for corn and soybean yields

Analyst says that margin for error is high in current crop estimates due to late planting, crops vulnerable to weather stress.

Chip Flory, editor, Pro Farmer, and crop analyst, presented the results of Pro Farmer’s 21st annual crop tour during the Pro Farmer/WATT Grain & Meat Outlook webinar. He said that as a result of late planting caused by wet spring weather in the Corn Belt, much of the corn and the soybean crops are at immature stages for late August and will require several weeks of good growing conditions to reach their respective yield potentials.

Flory said that the current hot dry conditions in the Midwest are not going to help the crops and that an early frost would also damage the crops. Normally, the corn and soybean crops would be farther along in their development by late August and would not be impacted as significantly by weather conditions in September and early October. Flory said that the next six to seven weeks will be very important for the corn and the soybean crops, and that this increases the margin for error in estimating the average yields for the country.

For the 2013-14 crop year in the U.S., Pro Farmer projects that the planted acres for corn will be 95.4 million acres, or 2 million less than what the USDA WASDE forecast on August 12. The harvested acres are projected to be 87.3 million acres by Pro Farmer, 1.8 million acres less than the USDA forecast. Pro Farmer forecast that the national corn yield will be 154.1 bushels per acre, or 0.3 bushels per acre less than the USDA forecast. This nets a total corn harvest forecast of 13.46 billion bushels, or three quarters of a percent less than the USDA forecast.

The Pro Farmer forecast for the average price per bushel of corn for the 2013-14 crop year is $5.75, which is slightly higher than the USDA forecast range of $4.50-5.30.

For the 2013-14 crop year, Pro Farmer forecast 76.5 million acres planted in soybeans, 0.7 million less than the August 12 USDA WASDE forecast. The expectation is that 75.6 million acres will be harvested and that the average yield will be 41.8 bushels per acre, 0.8 bushels per acre less than the USDA forecast. This produces a total soybean harvest forecast of 3.158 billion bushels, which is around 3 percent (or 97 million bushels) less than the USDA forecast. 

ProFarmer’s projected average price per bushel of soybeans is $13.50, which is substantially higher than the USDA WASDE report’s projected range of $10.35-12.35 per bushel.