USDA: Rains Shrink Iowa’s Corn Crop

Farmers are expected to harvest a record 13.4 billion bushels of corn this year, 2 percent more than in 2009, despite a likely smaller harvest in Iowa, where excessive rain has damaged crops, the government says.

That bigger production nationwide will compensate for higher demand for corn from foreign markets and other users.

The Agriculture Department, releasing its first projections of this fall’s harvest, estimated that Iowa’s average yield will fall to 179 bushels per acre, down three bushels from last year. But nationally, the USDA is estimating that the average yield this fall will reach 165 bushels per acre, up from 164.7 bushels last year and 1.5 bushels more than USDA analysts had projected last month for the fall harvest.

The USDA noted that crop conditions in Iowa and South Dakota are worse this year than a year ago because of the excessive rainfall this summer. Iowa is expected to produce 2.3 billion bushels of corn, just ahead of No. 2 Illinois with 2.2 billion bushels. Iowa’s production reached 2.4 billion bushels in 2009.

Because of increased demand for U.S. corn, USDA is raising its estimate of the average price farmers will get for this crop by 5 cents to $3.80 a bushel, up from the $3.50 to $3.60 producers got for the 2009 harvest. The USDA raised its estimate of corn exports by 100 million bushels – to more than 2 billion bushels – from the July forecast because of grain shortages in Russia and Ukraine.

“We need to maintain this strong export base to stay at these price levels going into harvest. Basically, that’s what the government told us today,” said commodities analyst Jason Roose.

The soybean harvest also is expected to hit a record this fall – 3.4 billion bushels, which would be a 2 percent from 2009

Iowa farmers are expected to harvest 517.7 million bushels of soybeans, up from 486 million last year, with the average yield remaining the same at 51 bushels per acre.

The survey was conducted from July 25 to Aug. 6, so the results would not reflect damage caused by the most recent flooding in central Iowa. Some 27,000 farms nationwide were included.

(Source: DesMoinesRegister.com)

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