Soybean Yields Are Better Than Corn

USDA October estimate shows record U.S. soybean crop, near record for corn in 2006.

Published on: Oct 17, 2006

Iowa yields for 2006 are good for soybeans, which is what farmers have been saying this fall. And corn yields aren't as good as farmers thought they would be. The same is true for the U.S. corn and soybean yields, based on USDA's October Crop Report, released October 12.

Joe Prusacki, director of Iowa Ag Statistics Service, gives the following summary. Iowa Ag Statistics Service is the data gathering agency for Iowa that is part of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service.
U.S. corn production for 2006 is forecast at 10.9 billion bushels, down 2% from both last month and last year. This latest forecast is based on conditions as of October 1. The U.S. corn yield for 2006 is expected to average 153.5 bushels per acre, that's down 1.2 bushels from the September forecast.

If realized, the 2006 corn harvest will be second only to 2004's 11.8 billion bushel U.S. crop.

Iowa corn yield is 168 bushels per acre

Iowa corn production is forecast at 2.08 billion bushels, or 19% of the U.S. crop. Significantly, Iowa's 2006 yield is forecast at 168 bushels per acre, down 6 bushels per acre from the September forecast. "The grain test weights in October are coming in quite a bit lower than we estimated they would in September," says Prusacki.

U.S. soybean production is forecast at 3.19 billion bushels for 2006, up 3% from the September forecast and up 4% from last year's final crop size. "If the final crop size this year ends up at 3.19, this would be the highest U.S. soybean production on record," says Prusacki. The U.S. average yield is forecast at 42.8 bushels per acre for 2006, up one bushel per acre from September's estimate.

Iowa soybean production is forecast at 502.5 million bushels for 2006 or 15.8% of the U.S. crop. Iowa soybean yield is forecast at 50 bushels per acre, which is up 1 bushel per acre from the September forecast. "Iowa's soybean crop is very good this year," says Prusacki.

Corn has a more bullish price outlook

"It looks like U.S. farmers this year have produced a record soybean crop and the second largest corn crop on record," says Bob Wisner, Iowa State University Extension economist. "This October USDA Crop Report is quite bullish for corn."

Iowa farmers who are in the midst of harvesting, say they aren't surprised by the USDA's October estimate. They're pleasantly surprised that harvest-time prices for corn and soybeans are holding up. "These prices are unheard of at harvest," says Dave Machacek, a farmer from Alburnett, Iowa.

He says his bean yields were "pretty exceptional this year. We had one farm that averaged 57 bushels per acre, and I hadn't expected our beans to do that well."

Ron Heck who farms near Perry says his corn and soybean yields are disappointing, because of dry weather this past summer. "We were dry in May and June and half of July and that hurt the corn, then we were too wet in August and September and that hurt the soybeans," says Heck.