Ag Weather Forum

Corn Research Shows Good, Not Great, Yield

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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The final Cropwatch corn yield estimate for 2016 yield average is 169 bushels per acre. That's under USDA's September figure of 174.4 bushels per acre. (UNL graphic by Nick Scalise)

Following are excerpts from the final installment of the Cropwatch corn yield estimate project administered by the University of Nebraska -Lincoln. Yield estimates for both rainfed (non-irrigated) and irrigated corn research plots are done across the Midwest.

"Physiological maturity (black layer) has been reached at all sites, except for western Nebraska, North Dakota, and Michigan. The crop season ended with above-average temperature across the entire region and above-average rainfall in the central and eastern regions of the Corn Belt. In general, crops did not experience a water deficit during the last phase of the grain-filling period.

"Forecasted end-of-season yields for rainfed corn indicate near-average yield at 21 of 37 rainfed sites. These sites are located mainly in the southern and eastern regions of the Corn Belt and also in northwestern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and northern Illinois. Above-average yields are expected for 11 of the rainfed locations: western and central Nebraska, central-east and northeastern Nebraska, southwestern Iowa, and northwestern Missouri, eastern North Dakota, western Minnesota, and central Illinois. In contrast, the forecasts indicate below-average yield at five sites: southeastern Nebraska, and across a southeast-northwest transect in Iowa.

"Forecasted 2016 yields fall:

well above-average (10% or more) for rainfed corn in Nebraska and Minnesota;

above-average (from 3% to 9%) for rainfed corn in Illinois and Kansas, and irrigated corn in Nebraska and Kansas;

near-average for rainfed corn in Indiana and Missouri; and

below-average (from -3 to -4 percent) for rainfed corn in Iowa and Ohio.

"In September USDA-NASS forecasted a record national corn yield of 174.4 bushels per acre for 2016. Our end-of season forecasts made on September 21 also suggest that average yield will be above average but, in contrast, our forecasts do not point to a record yield. Regional average yield, including rainfed and irrigated corn, is forecasted to be 169 bushels per acre. This forecast is 5 percent above the historical (2006-2015) regional average yield but well below the historical yield record. Hence, our corn yield estimate is lower that the USDA-NASS forecasted yield. This may be explained by the approach followed in the Yield Forecast Center, based on robust simulation models that account for temperature effects, especially high night minimum temperature.

"Note that these forecasts do not take into consideration problems with stand emergence, hail (or) flooding damage, replanting situations, disease, or nitrate leaching. Therefore, in fields negatively affected by these constraints, actual yields will be lower than estimates provided here. It is important to keep in mind that yield forecasts are not field specific and, instead, represent an estimate of average on-farm yield for a given location and surrounding area in absence of the yield-reducing factors mentioned here."

The full report is at this link:…

Bryce Anderson can be reached at

Twitter @BAndersonDTN



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