Fundamentally Speaking

August 2018 USDA Corn Yield Estimates

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

USDA pegged the 2018 U.S. corn yield at 178.4 bushels per acre (bpa) in its initial field-based crop production report and this is a new record exceeding the year ago high of 176.6 bpa and above the average trade guess of 176.2 bpa.

Earlier in the season, trade was thinking that corn yields could be this high with some guessing over 180 bpa but concern about elevated temperatures for much of the summer, dry spots in a number of key states and a decline in what still are historically lofty crop ratings had tempered some of the yield estimates.

This graphic shows the actual 2018 corn yields for the top 18 producing states and the U.S. along with the calculated 25 year trend yield also for 2018 on the right hand axis while plotting the percent that the 2018 yield deviates from that 25 year trend and the percent it deviates from the 2017 yield on the left hand axis.

The top yield goes to Illinois at 207 bpa followed up by Iowa at 202 and then Nebraska at 196 bpa.

Given talk that corn yields in the top three producing states were quite good it is no surprise that the USDA national yield is at a record high.

It is South Dakota however that has the highest yield as a percent of 2017 at up 17.3% while Tennessee has the highest yield relative to trend at up 13.1%.

In fact, 11 of the top 18 states have yields above their respective 25 year trend.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Texas has the lowest yield of the top states at 115 bpa followed up by North Carolina at 120 and then Kansas at 129.

In terms of deviation from trend, Texas also has the lowest in this regard at off 15.8% followed up by Missouri at off 14.5%.

Drought-stricken Missouri lags its year ago yield by the largest margin of any state, off 22.9% followed up by Texas where its 2018 yield is down 17.9% from its final 2017 yield.



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