Fundamentally Speaking

Trends in Corn Yields for Top States

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst
Chart by Joel Karlin, DTN Contributing Analyst

In a blog last month, we noted that for a variety of reasons corn and soybean acreage has increased quite dramatically in both North and South Dakota over the years.

The Dakotas will account for almost 10% of all U.S. corn planted area this year vs. 7.6% last year and just 6.8% 20 years ago.

These two states along with TN (and those states not in the top 18 referred to as others) have seen their share of U.S. corn acreage increase over the years, yet they average only 80-90% of the national yield and this could have a dampening effect on the U.S. corn yield and total production.

Honing in on the yield differences, this chart shows the five, ten and 20-year average of the top 18 corn producing states yields as a percent of the U.S. yield and we also do that with the "other" states that produce corn that are grouped together.

It is true that North and South Dakota corn yields do average below the national yield but over the years, their yields have been increasing vs. the U.S. yield on a relative basis.

From 2001 to 2020 the North Dakota yield was averaged 20.2% below the U.S. yield but from 2011-2020 it was 19.6% below; over the last five seasons it has averaged 17.0% below the national yield.

South Dakota exhibits a similar pattern with the 20-year average 15.5% below the U.S. yield improving to 11.5% below for the 10-year average and 11.0% below over the past five years.

Kentucky and Tennessee also have seen their state corn yields improve relative to the national yield over the years by an even greater degree.

Conversely the Plains states of CO, KS and TX have seen their state corn yields lose ground relative to the national yield over the years.

This is perhaps due to long-standing drought issues in that part of the country or is land that should not be planted to corn but is due to crop insurance considerations or enhanced profitability vs. other more traditional crops grown in those states.

The final fact is there are only five states that have yields that average higher than the national yield and they are IL, IN, IA, MN and NE, all blockbuster corn producing states.


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