Fundamentally Speaking

US Sets New Corn Yield Record

Joel Karlin
By  Joel Karlin , DTN Contributing Analyst

Te final figures are in and the U.S. did see a record corn yield this past season.

USDA's annual crop production report showed the 2021 national yield at 177.0 bushels per acre (bpa), unchanged from its November 2021 projection.

This is an all-time high, exceeding the prior peak of 176.6 bpa set back in 2017.

The fact that a new high was set in the corn yield with a growing season that was from ideal is quite impressive, though with the 20-year trend for last year calculated at 175.9 bpa, the final figure is just 0.6% higher than trend and certainly 2021 will not go down as one of those blockbuster years like 1992, 1994, 2004 and 2014.

This graphic shows the 2021 corn yield percent deviation from 20-year trend on the left-hand axis vs. the percent change of final 2021 yields compared to the 2020 yields and the percent change in the USDA's 2021 yield estimates from the August 2021 to the final report on the right-hand axis for the top 18 growing states and the U.S.

No surprise that North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota were the three worst states in terms of negative deviation from trend yields and the percent that yields this past season dropped off from the 2020 figures.

The only positive spin for MN is that the results could have been worse, but some August rains did help boost their 2021 yield by 12 bpa (7.2%) from the August to final report as WI also saw a rise in yields from August to January of 14 bpa (7.8%).

At the opposite end of the spectrum was North Carolina whose final yield this past season at 149 bpa was not only a new record at 19.5% above trend, but a huge 31.9% increase from the 2020 yield; PA also saw a nice rebound from rather dour 2020 results.

Our last observation is TX yields falling as drought conditions increased throughout the summer and continue to this day, while both MO and particularly IL appear to have had their corn yields nipped by the opposite problem of too much precipitation.


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