Fundamentally Speaking

2019 U.S. and Top State Corn Yields Better Than Expected

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

Given all the weather related calamities that impacted the 2019 U.S. corn crop, including record spring rainfall that resulted in the latest planting pace ever with over one-third of the crop seeded in June, a flash drought that hit parts of the Eastern Corn Belt during the summer and abysmal harvesting conditions, yields for the country and top states turned out far better than could have been imagined.

With regard to this last item, rains and snow were constant in much of the Corn Belt during October and November resulting in over a billion bushels of corn still out in the fields when the USDA ended its weekly crop progress and condition reports in early December.

Still, last month the USDA pegged the final 2019 U.S. corn yield at 168.0 bushels per acre (bpa) which, other than the past five years, would be the highest ever and is only 3.7% below the 30-year trend.

This graphic shows the actual 2019 and estimated 2020 trend yields for the top 18 corn states and U.S. in bushels per acre on the left-hand axis vs. the percent that actual 2019 yields were of 2019 trends on the right-hand axis.

As depicted in the chart, we are using a 30-year trend.

We should also note that the USDA has indicated due to the very lagged harvest pace they will resurvey farmers this spring in MI, MN, ND, SD and WI to see if their harvested area and production estimates have changed and this could alter those states yields and final output figures.

Nonetheless, the USDA did up its final national corn yield estimate by 1.0 bpa in the January report vs. common expectations it would be lowered.

The best performing state was TN where their 177.0 bpa yield was the highest of all states at 112.4% of trend and was also the only one of the 18 states that set an all-time high for yield.

PA at 3.7% above trend, MO 2.2% above trend, KY 3.0% above trend and KS at 2.0% above trend also did well. The worst in comparison to trend was CO at 88.6% with their 123.0 bpa yield the lowest for them since 1995, NC at 86.6% of trend and SD at 91.7% of trend.

All five of the state’s recording above trend yields this year have estimated 2020 trend yields below what was actually produced in 2019 with the other 13 states expecting to have higher yields including the U.S. where the 2020 estimated 30-year trend yield is pegged at 176.0 bpa.



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