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Record-breaking harvest expected for corn, soybeans

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 12:45 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 12:54 p.m. CDT
This stand of corn was knocked over from strong winds during Tuesday's storm system that caused isolated damage to buildings and crops in eastern Union County. State Climatologist Harry Hilaker said some areas reported light hail, which is typically in areas with high wind.

It is shaping up to be another record-breaking year for farmers.

The U.S Department of Agriculture updated their expectations in the Aug. 12 report, predicting this year’s corn crop to reach 14 billion bushels and soybean crop to reach 3.8 billion bushels.

The estimate surpasses last year’s harvest record of 13.9 billion bushels for corn. The previous record for soybeans was 3.4 billion bushels in 2009.

“Even when we were dry the weather was cooler,” said Gavilon manager Dean Michaelson. “We have had very few days over 90, so the dry spell did not stress the crop.”

Iowa looks to remain the nation’s top producer in corn with an expected 2.44 billion bushels to be harvested this fall. Illinois is a close second, with an estimated 2.22 billion bushel corn crop.


Some timely rains and cooler summer temperatures have helped boost the 2014 yields.

State Climatologist Harry Hilaker said the recent rain will help southwest Iowa get through a small rise in temperatures that is expected to last through Sunday.

“We haven’t had a lot of heat and humidity, so this warm spell should last a fair amount of time by this year’s standards,” Hilaker said. “This is not going to be the start of a long weather pattern ... not much negative impact expected.”

Tuesday’s storm system provided most of the area with much needed rain for both corn and soybeans. There were some isolated reports of corn damage in eastern Union County.

“Most of the state is still waiting for a rain like that to occur, especially northeast Iowa that keeps missing the rain,” Hilaker said. “Crops are not deteriorating quickly, but they could be improving rather quickly.”

The warmer week ahead is also inviting for farmers who were forced to replant or plant late due to the unpredictable spring weather. The heat and humidity should help speed up the crop maturity.

Market prices

The record numbers are putting downward pressure market prices, forcing farmers to take control of the market by holding back their harvest. Many are building more on-farm storage facilities and waiting to sell for a higher profit.

On July 1, corn was $3.89 at Gavilon Grain for the October and November new crop. Six weeks later, it has dropped to $3.21.

“It all depends on the weather,” said Michaelson. “We were dry for a while (in July) and that might have affected the corn yields, but we have had some real good rains in August for the soybeans and so has most of the midwest.”

Corn continues to grow in demand from farmers feeding animals, exporting their crop to the rest of the world and supporting the ethanol industry.

Michaelson said if there is enough storage, he expects farmers to hold on tight to as much of their harvest as possible to see if demand increases and prices recover.

Soybeans also took a hit. On July 1, Gavilon Grain reported $10.83 for October and November new crop. Prices over the past six weeks have dropped more than a dollar, coming in at $9.65 yesterday.

This is the lowest soybeans have been since 2010.

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