Corn yields expected to drop this fall

Topflight Grain officials are estimating the average area corn yield at 190 bushels per acre this year, but expect a wide variety of figures to appear once farmers begin to harvest. The variance will be due to the wide range of rain totals that occurred this growing season.

For example, Topflight’s rain gauge in Milmine recorded 21.1 inches of rain in the growing season that began in April, while 13 miles north in Cisco there was just 14.3 inches recorded.

“The yields will depend a lot on the soil quality and its ability to retain the water,” said Topflight Merchandiser Derrick Bruhn, who reported yield estimates after last week’s annual crops tour. That sampling showed varied results, mostly due to the front-loaded precipitation this year that saw about 80 percent of the total rain thus far falling in May.

“Just in the Monticello area we had three different groups go out and between the three groups I had a 36 bushel variation on an average between those. That goes back to the areas and soil types. The lighter soil areas were not able to hold on to that soil as well as good, dark soils that can hold on to it longer and materialize into a good production,” added Bruhn.

He said the amount of rain received at specific sites seems more varied than normal years. Bruhn said one farmer near Milmine told him he received two inches of rain at his homestead during one event, but just .1 inch at his bin site a mile away.

Monticello received 10.7 inches of rain in April and May, but just .5 inch during the critical growing period of June ad 2.9 inches in July. The crops tour showed the impact, predicting corn yields to drop about 14 percent from last year’s estimates of 223 bushels per acre. That was close to the U.S. Department of Agriculture figure of 218.7 bushels, which was in the top 10 in the state.

“In the June period, we had nothing and that’s when we really need rain for a corn crop. We had a lot of subsoil moisture coming in and then we had some early July rains come through,” said Bruhn.

Considering the lack of rain in June and July, he said 190 bushel corn is not a bad result; just that it seems to pale in comparison with the bumper crops of recent years.

“That’s a big change, but historically 190 bushel corn is not bad. It’s just the last three years we’ve been spoiled. It’s been good.”

In 2015 Piatt County’s corn yields averaged a state-high 236 bpa.

Area soybean yields are expected to drop 7.6 percent from 2016, when the county averaged a record 71.3 bushels to lead the state.

“If we take off seven percent that’s still 65 bushel beans, so I think the beans will be respectable,” commented Bruhn.

“This year is probably the biggest extreme in rain that I’ve ever seen, and that follows through on the crops,” said Bruhn, who has worked for Topflight for 16 years.

This year’s bean yields could also also benefit from recent rains, possibly boosting that total.

Crop tours date to 1983

Topflight’s August crop sampling dates back to 1983, when the firm was known as Bement Grain. In that year, corn yields were estimated at 114.9 bushels per acre, soybeans at 33.7 bpa. That estimate was higher than expected, and the release of crop tour data was blamed for causing a 15 cent drop in soybean prices and 5 cents per bushel for corn.

Categories (2):News, Agriculture

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