It makes a good headline — thekansan.com partner AccuWeather predicts the lowest U.S. corn yield in seven years — but it is unclear if that prediction will be true for Harvey and McPherson counties.
"I don't think that anyone is expecting a bumper crop this year," said Tim Schultz, COO of Team Market Alliance in Moundridge. "I am still looking for an average crop with lots of variability and strung out, a longer harvest than normal."
What it will be is a harvest that is spread out as, thanks to early-season flooding and replantings, crops will mature at different times.
"If you look around, you have fields with washout spots and replants. You have different stages of growth, in some fields, in some cases," Schultz said. "We had a period where we went from too much rain to not enough rain."
The latest AccuWeather 2019 crop production analysis predicts a significant decline from last year’s corn and soybean yield, differing from the July U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that show strong production and supplies.
AccuWeather analysts predict the national 2019 corn yield will be 13.07 billion bushels, a decline of 9.3% from 2018 and 5.8% lower than the latest USDA figures. If that comes true, it would be the lowest yield since 2012, when drought forced national corn production down to 10.76 billion bushels.
"Kansas will be more in the middle," Schultz said. "Conditions across the whole Corn Belt have been, I think, a lot worse than what ours have been."
The difference between AccuWeather and USDA estimates centers on forecasts for projected corn acres harvested, with AccuWeather analysts believing late-planted corn either won't yield well or could be affected more so this year by on-time frost.
"You can throw in there, if it is later, when are we going to get a freeze and how will that affect things," Schultz said. "I will stick to the fact that there is a lot of variability and I think an average crop is possible in this area."
AccuWeather’s projected national soybean yield of 3.9 billion bushels reflects a 14.1% decline from 2018’s final soybean production of 4.544 billion bushels. According to AccuWeather, that would be the lowest yield since 2013, when nationally 3.357 billion bushels were harvested. However, AccuWeather’s predicted soybean yield is 1.4% higher than the USDA’s July estimate of 3.845 billion bushels.
“The upcoming weather is still very important for both crops,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Jason Nicholls. “We’re not forecasting horrible weather, but there have been some problem areas in a small but important part of the U.S. Corn Belt, including Iowa, Illinois and Indiana."
The USDA will release its monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates on Aug. 12. According to AccuWeather, last month’s WASDE estimates left many in the farming industry puzzled by the high forecast for corn acreage planted (91.7 million acres) despite the flooding and persistent rain that plagued Corn Belt farmers early.
The estimate had “everyone scratching their heads,” Ohio farmer Fred Traver emailed AccuWeather. “The best guess by analysts and farm organizations is that [estimate] includes acres reported to the USDA/Farm Service Agency as prevented planting corn and is not the actual planted acres ... Hopefully that will be separated from the actual planted acres sometime in the near future.”