The USDA released the August supply and demand estimates on the 12th.
Perhaps the most interesting figure was Iowa's projected yield, 171 bushels per acre – the same as last year. This came as a big surprise to me. With flooding and late planting, it's hard to fathom how this could be true.
However, Darrel Good, with the University of Illinois, said he thinks it simple means we had a near perfect July. It's remarkable to think today's hybrids can go through such early-season trauma, only to bounce back spectacularly.
Despite the yield predictions, harvestable acres were down in both Iowa and Illinois. Iowa is projected at 12,900,000 acres, compared to last year's 13,850,000. Illinois went from 13,050,000 in 2007 to this year's projection of 11,800,000.
Of course, just because July was good, doesn't mean August or September will follow suit. For the record, Arlan Suderman, Farm Futures marketing analyst, expects the August or September report to be the most optimistic with crop production. From there, he thinks estimates will shrink near harvest.
As far as the soybean crop is concerned, Good says it's kind of a iffy right now. With such a late start, crop estimates were a stretch at best in early August.
USDA puts this year's soybean crop at 2.972 billion bushels, higher than last year's 2.585 billion bushels. Good cautions an early frost could really cut into estimates.
Check out the September issue of Prairie Farmer for post-harvest marketing strategies from both Suderman and Good.
By the way, Jim Angel, state climatologist, gave the basic timeline for frost in Illinois. North – early October; central – mid-October; south – late-October. Other than that, he said look for a window of plus or minus two weeks for the frost date.