Early Indiana Yield Reports Not Encouraging

Early Indiana Yield Reports Not Encouraging

USDA may not be through dropping yield.

As of early September, the best field of corn reportedly brought into Kokomo Grain elevator at Edinburgh, Ind., was 75 bushels per acre. The best bean yield was 17 bushels per acre, with a low of 13 bushels per acre. To be fair, the elevator is near a large expanse of ground that consists of three feet or so of soil over gravel, although the entire area is not that type of soil.

One farmer reports that his best yield so far after running several fields is 34.5 bushels per acre. He ran more than two days on one tank of fuel in his combine. And he spent so much time adjusting stripper plates form the cab, that he about dove himself silly. He was trying to narrow up plates to keep small ears form falling out, but then would still find an ear wanting to plug in the plates.

Another farmer with loam over gravel at three feet said the problem was that a great number of stalks were totally barren. He reports that you could walk down any row in the field and find several stalks in a row without an ear. The area suffered through the 23 days of 90 degree or higher heat, and the more than 40 days of 90 degrees or higher for the season.

The same land making 35 bushels per acre made 80 bushels in 2007, which until now was one of that farmer's worst dry years. But that year planting went in on time. The crop looked good until it stopped raining in late June and didn't rain again for all practical purposes until September. This year, the farmer says, the crop went in late due to a wet start, and never looked good all season long.

These are extremes, and there will be good corn in Indiana, but so far no concrete proof of those super-high yields have come in. When you've got fields that were disked down at 7 bushels per acre, you need some 200 bushel or higher corn to offset them.

It's no surprise that USDA dropped Indiana's estimate from 150 bushels per acre in the August crop report to 145 bushels per acre in the September crop report. A five-bushel drop in a month is a huge drop for USDA to make in one fell swoop. In preparing for the September report, field enumerators hired by the Indiana Ag Statistics Service, got their first look at ears in the field.

Don't be surprised if the USDA average yield for Indiana slips even further in later estimates. As it is, it is about 20 bushels below trend line average yield, which should be about 165 bushels per acre.

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