USDA Predicts Iowa Corn Yield To Top Last Year

Iowa average corn yield for 2011 is forecast to go up by 12 bushels, to 177 bushels per acre, says USDA August Crop Report estimate. The state's soybean yield is expected to increase by one bushel per acre in 2011.

Published on: Aug 16, 2011

Iowa's corn and soybean growers have dealt with and continue to deal with many weather challenges in 2011. Despite those challenges, a bigger corn crop than last year is predicted. USDA's August Crop Report, released August 11, forecasts record-breaking yields and production for the state's 2011 corn crop.

If this latest forecast turns out to be on target for harvest this fall, Iowa will retain its position as the top corn-producing state with an expected 2.43 billion bushel crop. The average yield in Iowa is pegged at 177 bushels per acre, up 12 bushels per acre from the state's final yield in 2010.

For soybeans, the government's August report forecasts 5% less production than last year in Iowa, due to decreased bean acres. The state's average soybean yield is forecast at 52 bushels per acre for 2011, up 1 bushel per acre from 2010. If the August forecast turns out as is now being predicted by USDA, Iowa soybean production would be 474 million bushels this fall, down 5% from last year's 496 million bushel harvest.

U.S. corn production is predicted to be third largest crop in history

Looking at U.S. corn production, this year's crop is predicted to be 12.9 billion bushels, the third largest U.S. crop in history. The U.S. yield is expected to average 153 bushels per acre, up 0.2 bushel from 2010, which would be the fourth highest U.S. average corn yield on record.

"The USDA points out again that we have another record yield and also rising demand for corn," says Deb Keller, a farmer from Clarion and vice chair of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. "With the help of improved technology, corn farmers continue to work through adverse conditions to improve yields and improve the Iowa corn crop from year to year."

Looking toward the 2011 harvest season, she notes that a strong corn market, a strong ethanol industry and weather will be the driver in what actually comes out of the field this fall and the price farmers will get for the crop.

Corn prices expected to stay in $7 per bushel range for most of 2012

The increase in Iowa's yield is in contrast with the reduction in the expected overall harvest nationally, points out Iowa State University Extension grain marketing economist Chad Hart. USDA cut the national yield from 158.7 bushels per acre, which it projected in July, to 153 bu. per acre in the August Crop Report, largely because of poor planting and weather conditions this year in parts of the northern and eastern Corn Belt and drought in the Southern United States.

Tight corn supplies will persist through most of 2012 and will continue to support prices in the $7 per bushel range, double what corn brought 14 months ago, say USDA economists. ISU's Hart observes that Iowa agriculture and the state in general received a favorable forecast with this August 11 Crop Report, as the state of Iowa is expected to have a higher average yield in 2011 than in 2010 and prices will likely stay strong for most of 2012.

U.S. soybean crop in 2011 is predicted to be lower than last year

USDA is forecasting soybean production in the U.S. for 2011 at 3.06 billion bushels, compared to 3.33 billion bushels harvested last year. Last month in USDA's July Crop Report, total production was projected at 3.22 billion bushels. The average soybean yield for the U.S. for 2011 is now estimated at 41.4 bushels per acre.

Soybean ending stocks are estimated by USDA at 155 million bushels, down 20 million from the government's previous estimate which was made in July. Projected soybean exports for the new crop of 2011 soybeans are reduced 95 million bushels to 1.4 billion, according to the USDA's August 11 report.

"Apparently, the change in this August USDA report from last month's estimates takes into consideration the impact of wetness and flooding that some farmers have experienced, as well hot, dry weather in other areas of the nation," says ISA director of market development Grant Kimberley. Kimberley, in addition to working for ISA, also farms with his dad near Maxwell in central Iowa. "We are not surprised that the soybean production numbers for 2011 are lower in August, but we didn't expect them to be this much lower," he says.

Good news for soybean growers, demand is expected to stay strong

ISA chief executive Kirk Leeds points out that, "It's August and soybean yields will be made in August, unlike corn, which is made in July. I personally think we have a shot at getting much closer to 500 million bushels of soybeans produced this year in Iowa, but time will tell." Grant Kimberley adds, "Even if good weather conditions result in higher production numbers for U.S. soybeans this year, we can still expect to see strong prices for the 2011 crop, thanks to growing demand in Asia, particularly in China, where the hog industry is rebounding."   

Based on USDA's August Crop Report information, the government is now estimating U.S. corn production will total 12.91 billion bushels in 2011, up from 12.45 billion bushels in 2010, but down from the July estimate of 13.4 billion. The U.S. average corn yield for 2011 is now estimated at 153 bushels per acre.

For Iowa, total corn production is estimated at 2.43 billion bushels for 2011, compared to 2.15 billion bushels in 2010. Iowa's average expected yield is estimated at 177 bushels per acre, compared to 165 bushels per acre in 2010.

Iowa corn and bean estimates vary according to crop reporting district

The tables accompanying this article show the USDA's 2011 corn and soybean yield, production and harvested acreage estimates according to crop reporting district in Iowa. This crop reporting district information comes from the August Crop Report, gathered and analyzed by the Iowa Office of USDA's National Ag Statistics Service in Des Moines.

* Corn: Iowa's corn planted and harvested for grain acreage is estimated at 14.2 million and 13.8 million acres, respectively. As of August 1, Iowa's corn crop is forecast to yield 177 bushels per acre. Production is forecast at 2.43 billion bushels, up 1% from the 2009 record high production.

Corn planted acres rose in all districts in Iowa, with the northwest, north central, west central and central districts each increasing over 100,000 acres. Only northwest Iowa's yield forecast is lower than 2010, while south central and southeast Iowa yields are forecast to increase over 40% from last year's disappointing yields.

* Soybeans: Iowa farmers planted 9.2 million acres of soybeans this spring and plan to harvest 9.11 million of those acres in 2011. The August 11 yield forecast of 52.0 bushels per acre is up 1 bushel per acre from 2010. Soybean production in 2011 is currently estimated at 474 million bushels for Iowa, down 5% from last year's production of 496 million bushels.

Soybean acres to be harvested have decreased in all nine districts, according to the August estimates. West central and southwest Iowa are showing the largest percentage decreases with a combination of decreased plantings and Missouri River flooding. Southwest and south central Iowa are the only crop reporting districts currently forecast to have smaller yields of soybeans in 2011 than 2010.

Reminder: All crop forecasts in the USDA's August 2011 Crop Report are based on conditions on August 1 and do not reflect the weather effects that have occurred since that time. The next official corn and soybean production forecasts, based on conditions as of September 1, 2011 will be released on September 12 in USDA's September Crop Report.

Iowa Soybeans, 2010-2011

District

Harvested

Yield/acre

Production

2010

20111

2010

20112

2010

2011

Thousand Acres

Thousand Acres

Bushels

Bushels

Thousand

Bushels

Thousand

Bushels

NW

NC

NE

WC

C

EC

SW

SC

SE

State

1,605

1,285

790

1,515

1,395

905

960

550

725

9,730

1,508

1,208

749

1,373

1,313

848

890

534

687

9,110

52.7

50.8

53.5

51.9

51.2

52.0

49.8

45.3

47.6

51.0

55.0

51.5

53.5

52.0

54.0

54.0

48.5

45.0

49.0

52.0

84,540

65,245

42,245

78,590

71,390

47,035

47,785

24,905

34,495

496,230

82,900

62,200

40,000

71,300

70,900

45,700

43,000

24,120

33,600

473,720

 Iowa Corn, 2010-2011

 

District

Harvested

Yield/acre

Production

 

2010

20111

2010

20112

2010

2011

 

Thousand Acres

Thousand Acres

Bushels

Bushels

Thousand Bushels

Thousand Bushels

NW

NC

NE

WC

C

EC

SW

SC

SE

State

1,920

1,870

1,590

1,975

1,925

1,375

1,015

510

870

13,050

2,045

2,030

1,575

2,070

2,060

1,435

1,045

555

935

13,750

184.7

175.6

175.9

172.1

167.5

165.3

151.9

98.0

111.4

165.0

184.0

184.0

188.0

179.0

182.0

173.0

161.0

143.0

157.0

177.0

354,600

328,300

279,700

339,800

322,400

227,300

154,200

50,000

96,950

2,153,250

376,240

373,480

296,070

370,490

374,880

248,230

168,230

79,350

146,780

2,433,750

 

1 Harvested for grain 2 Yield rounded