US drought continues to drop Midwest crop estimates

Latest prediction at 118 bushels per acre for harvest

The latest estimated U.S. corn yield is now down to 118 bushels per acre due to the ongoing drought, according to MDA EarthSat crop tour, lower than the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture prediction (146 bushels per acre) and a recent Reuters poll (130.8 bushels per acre). MDA EarthSat surveyed 49 fields in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

“The combination of heat and dryness is the worst since 1988,” said Kyle Tapley, head ag meteorologist with MDA EarthSat. “The widespread nature of the drought combined with the heat left disappointing yields everywhere. We saw variability, but the good is not going to outweigh the bad.” In Iowa, the number one corn-producing state, the yield is estimated at 146 bushels per acre, down 16 percent from the average of 174.7 bushels per acre in the same areas of the state in 2011. Some Iowa corn plants were only 4 to 5 feet (1 to 1.5 meters) tall with thin stalks and small ears. Others, though mostly green, were visibly stressed by heat and drought, according to reports.

West-central Iowa has received 75 percent or less of its normal rainfall since June 1, and the entire state is in severe drought or worse.