Devastating June floods in the Midwest raised the specter of potential shortages of key U.S. crops. But according to a new survey by Farm Futures Magazine, corn and soybean crops appear to have largely recovered. Normal yields are still possible, if not likely.
Based on a survey of more than 700 farmers, as well as crop ratings and agronomic data, Farm Futures currently estimates 2008 corn production at 12,061 million bushels, based on average U.S. yields of 154 bushels per acre. USDA, which updates its forecast on Aug. 12, last estimated corn production at 11,715 million based on yields of 148.4 bpa.
In addition to yields, the number of acres planted and lost to flooding remains a key variable this year, says Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr, who directs the research.
“Our surveys this year have consistently shown that farmers planted more acres than USDA found,” says Knorr. “But while we raised planted acreage to 88 million, survey data indicated greater abandonment due to flooding, reducing harvested acreage by 580,000 from USDA’s earlier estimates.”
For soybeans, Farm Futures estimates a crop of 3,038 million bushels, based on national yields of 42.5 bpa. Unlike corn, survey data suggests farmers planted fewer soybeans than USDA previously forecast, in part because a late wheat harvest reduced double crop acres.
USDA in July estimated soybean production at 3 billion bushels, based on yields of 41.6 bpa.
Farm Futures Market Analyst Arlan Suderman expects USDA’s August estimate to be its highest of the year, due to the unusual nature of the 2008 growing season.
“I would expect this year's stresses to catch up to the crop yielding fewer beans per pod, and perhaps fewer pods per acre for beans and slightly smaller ears and kernel weight on corn,” Suderman said. “That won't show up until later in the season.”
Farm Futures estimates were released Tuesday night at on online webinar. Tune in to the complete webinar at www.FarmFutures.com.
Farm Futures surveyed 701 growers by email from July 25 to Aug. 5.