Fundamentally Speaking

Looking Ahead to 2019 Corn Yields

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

USDA will issue its final crop production report on January 11 and though it is expected that less than favorable conditions the second half of the harvest should result in a lower corn yield than the 178.9 bushel per acre (bpa) figure given in November, it should still be above the prior record of 176.6 bpa set just one year ago.

After a series of key reports that date, the next big USDA news item should be their first take on the 2019/20 balance sheets including planted acreage, yields and demand projections at their annual Agricultural Outlook forum in late February.

Getting a jump start, this graphic shows actual U.S. corn yields from 1989 to the November 2018 projection, the 10, 20 and 30-year trend lines and also whatUSDA has projected for U.S. corn yields at their Ag Outlook forum starting in 1998.

In the box we also detail the expected 2019 trend yield and what yield USDA should show in February along with the average annual trend increase for all the time periods.

In recent pieces we have talked about what appears to be an upward paradigm shift in U.S. row crop yields.

One can see from the chart since 2014, U.S. corn yields have been off the charts with all five years coming in above the 30, 20 and even 10-year trend with record yields seen four of the past five seasons.

Even including the devastating drought year of 2012, yields over the past ten years have risen at an annual rate of 3.50 bushels per acre, well above the 20-year trend of a 2.05 bpa per year increase, 2.07 bpa for the 30-year trend and 2.23 bpa for the USDA Ag Outlook projections.

If one were to extrapolate the 2019 yield from the 10-year trend a figure of 180.9 bpa would be expected vs. 174.5-174.6 for the 20 and 30-year trend and an expected USDA figure of 177.2 bpa at their Ag Outlook session which by the way was 174.0 bpa at their Feb 2018 Forum.



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