Saturday, September 17, 2011

Grains Council newsletter

I was recently interviewed for an article for the U.S Grains Council, written by Mike Howie.

Corn crop may surpass last year’s production
Corn harvest is underway in some parts of the United States, but most of the Corn Belt where the bulk of the U.S. corn crop is grown, won’t see harvest gearing up for several more weeks.

In the mean time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided an early estimate of the 2011-12 corn crop, as have various analysts and those on crop tours across the Midwestern United States. In its August report, USDA forecast U.S. corn production at 328 million tons (12.9 billion bushels), which if realized is 4 percent larger than last year’s crop and the third largest on record.

“While many of us have faced extreme drought or severe flooding, we have persevered and, through the use of improved technologies and practices, we will nearly reach the crop record set under more favorable conditions,” said Bart Schott, a farmer from North Dakota who is president of the National Corn Growers Association.

U.S. corn yields were estimated at 9.61 tons per hectare (153 bushels per acre), which was smaller than some had anticipated but crop tours throughout the Midwest support the smaller number. In fact, some growers wonder if that figure will fall a bit heading into harvest.

“Cold and wet weather kept us from getting the corn crop planted in the upper Midwest this spring, but warm weather this summer allowed it to catch up to where it should be this time of year,” said Noah Hultgren, a farmer from Willmar, Minnesota.

“We did have some heat stress but right now the crop looks pretty good, although I’m not sure if we’ll reach USDA’s yield estimate for the state. It just depends on how we finish out with grain fill and dry down,” he said. Average yields in Minnesota were estimated at 10 tons per hectare (166 bushels per acre) by USDA.

Crop analysts and others, including a delegation from China, on a crop tour across the main U.S. growing areas provided a mixed bag of numbers. There were areas across the Midwest with the potential for very good yields and areas where yields were likely going to be below expectations. A solid production estimate may be difficult to come by until harvest is fully underway.

“Over the last several years there has been discussion on and off about U.S. and global corn supplies, but in the end there has been plenty of corn to meet demand,” Hultgren said. “I’ve no doubt this year that there will again be plenty of corn to go around, although obviously prices have moved upward.”

It's fun to share my opinion with respected writers on the current crop. I'd love to share my opinion with you about farm land values, real estate appraisals, and 1031 tax-deferred exchanges as well. Please let me know if there is anything I can provide to you.

Noah Hultgren