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Photo by Randall Reeder.

Yield surprises showing up across the Corn Belt

As crop prices have been creeping steadily downward, frustration is setting in for many farmers who have grown accustomed to small national corn crops in recent years and the resulting pricing patterns. As more yield monitors around the country are starting to reveal, 2013 did not produce a small corn crop.

There has been talk for months now of a strong corn crop in Ohio, but there were many questions left about the yields to the west. The harvest is providing some answers. Steve Eickhoff farms in Minnesota and has been pleasantly surprised with his crops this fall.

“We’re closer to the Mississippi and our land is rolling and well drained. We had half of our crop planted by the middle of May and that is all going over 200 and soybeans are averaging about 50,” he said. “We had a great September and October and we got most of our corn mature. That was a big concern but we are at black layer on most everything. The excess moisture we had this spring was just enough to help us make it through the summer drought. Around us, the yields are sure looking good — better than we thought. We were blessed with an optimal fall.”

In areas with poor drainage further west in Minnesota, yields are struggling in some fields and there was a fair amount of prevented planting in the area, but the market has already accounted for those acres. And, after a season of hearing horror stories of the challenges for farms in Iowa, the end result has been much better than earlier predictions.

“Yields are a lot better than expected. We have heard a lot of comments from people wondering where this yield is coming from. For the most part, everybody has been pretty satisfied with their yields after the conditions we had this year,” said Eric Zumbach, a field agronomist for Pioneer in southeast Iowa. “Yields have been variable and were dictated by rainfall. Some yields are getting over the 230- or 240-bushel range on down to yields in the 120- to 180-bushel range. As far as yield and grain quality performance, I’d say we are seeing a 7 or 8 out of 10 for this year’s harvest.”


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