Five States Poised to Harvest Billion Bushel Corn Crops

U.S. will harvest its largest corn crop on record in 2007, if USDA's August estimate holds true.

Published on: Aug 21, 2007

U.S. farmers this year are expected to harvest 85.4 million acres of corn, breaking a record set in 1933. The average yield is projected at 152.8 bushels per acre for the U.S. in 2007, 7.6 bushels shy of the record set in 2004. USDA's August 10 Crop Report estimate indicates that five states will harvest billion bushel corn crops this fall: Iowa 2.51 billion bushels; Illinois 2.31 billion bushels; Nebraska 1.46 billion bushels; Minnesota 1.19 billion bushels; and for the first time Indiana with 1.01 billion bushels.

Iowa's largest previous crop was 2.2 billion bushels, harvested from 12.4 million acres in 2004.

The USDA's August corn production estimate was higher than the markets were anticipating, which trade analysts said was slightly negative for corn futures and prices in the short term. "But this is still a snapshot of a moving target," said Richard Feltes, senior vice president and director of commodity research for MF Global. "August-September weather will still have a great deal to do with how this year's crop shakes out."

Iowa to Lead Corn Harvest

Iowa farmers are poised to harvest the biggest corn acreage ever, according to USDA's August 10 Crop Report. The report also predicts a near-record state average yield of 180 bushels per acre. That would mean a bin-busting Iowa crop of 2.51 billion bushels this fall. Nationwide, the 2007 corn crop is expected to top 13 billion bushels. That would also be the largest-ever U.S. corn crop.

"This is the first time Iowa farmers have faced a challenge like this," says Jim Meyer, a farmer from Odebolt who serves on the board of directors of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. "USDA's report confirms what we can achieve. Iowa corn producers will meet the needs of our customers from traditional markets like livestock and exports and will also meet the new areas of demand like ethanol. This makes me proud to be a farmer."

U.S. soybean crop estimated down 18%

For soybeans, the USDA estimated 2007 production at 2.63 billion bushels, down 18% from last year's record high and slightly below the pre-report estimates by the trade. USDA for 2007 is forecasting average U.S. soybean yields at 41.5 bushels per acre, down 1.2 bushels from last year.

Historically, soybean and corn yields tend to change from the August crop report until the USDA's final production estimate is released in January, says Feltes. Corn yields in particular have increased 5 out of the last seven years from August through January. Given the current drought conditions in the Southeast U.S., the 2007 U.S. soybean yield average could decrease in subsequent USDA reports in September and October.

Unlike other areas of the country, dry weather in parts of Iowa this summer hasn't impacted the state's prospects for high corn and soybean yields—not very much anyway. Recent rains in much of the state have made a difference. According to the 2007 estimates released by USDA in its August Crop Report, Iowa will rank as the top corn and soybean producing state in the nation this year.

Iowa corn production will total a record 2.51 billion bushels in 2007, with a near-record yield of 180 bushels per acre, according to USDA. The USDA forecast for 2007 Iowa soybean production at 438.5 million bushels, is down from 510.1 million bushels produced in 2006. Iowa soybean yields will average 50 bushels per acre, down from last year's 50.5 bushels per acre, says USDA.