Record yields possible again, experts say

Farmers are gearing up for a record corn and soybean harvest this fall, if the weather holds for the rest of the growing season, according to results of the latest Farm Futures survey.
Corn production could hit 14.331 billion bushels this fall – nearly 3 percent more than the  record-setting harvest in 2013. Average yields of 171.06 bushels per acre appear possible nationwide, also a record after a summer marked by cool temperatures.
Soybeans also appear on track for a record, although output could be trimmed by late summer dry conditions or driven even higher if favorable conditions continue into the fall. Farm Futures projects yields of 46.07 bushels per acre on average, with a total harvest of 3.857 billion bushels.
“Soybean yields are still uncertain, with a lot of variance still possible in how the crop will wind up,” said Brice Knorr, Farm Futures senior market analyst. “Drying conditions headed into August are a concern from eastern Kentucky and Tennessee up through Missouri, Iowa and parts of the Dakotas.”
Below average precipitation in the second half of July doesn’t appear to be harming corn potential, thanks to cool conditions in the Midwest that reduced moisture needs for the crop.
“Our survey shows potential for larger corn yields if an extended period of grain fill allows kernels to gain weight,” Knorr said.
Prices for both crops should be lower if yield potentials hold.
“Cheaper corn should encourage some additional demand, but ending stocks on Aug. 31, 2015, could still rise toward 2 billion bushels,” Knorr said. “That could send the average cash price for the crop under $3.75, with futures prices already below that level. Farmers should get some downside protection from the new farm program, but it may take production problems in other growing regions to stabilize prices.”

Soybean inventories also should grow in the year ahead, approaching 400 million bushels. That could push the average cash price for the crop below $10.
“Preseason bookings are off to a record start, and better economic growth in China could boost our exports significantly,” Knorr said. “But stocks may still be huge a year from now, especially if growers in Brazil follow through with plans to increase production there.”
Farm Futures surveyed more than 1,325 growers between July 21 and Aug. 4.
 

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