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AccuWeather predicts the lowest US corn yield in 7 years

By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
August 11, 2019, 4:25:08 AM EDT

Farm and corn flooding

In this May 29, 2019 photo, a field is flooded by waters from the Missouri River, in Bellevue, Neb. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The latest AccuWeather 2019 crop production analysis predicts a significant decline from last year’s corn and soybean yield, as well as a noticeable variation from the July U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates.

AccuWeather analysts predict the 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. It would be the lowest yield since 2012, a year of a significant drought that saw final corn production numbers plummet to 10.76 billion bushels.

The difference between AccuWeather and USDA estimates centers on forecasts for projected corn acres harvested, with AccuWeather analysts concerned that late-planted corn either won't yield well or could be affected more so this year by on-time frost.

AccuWeather’s projected soybean yield of 3.9 billion bushels reflects an even greater decline from 2018’s final soybean production numbers. It would be a 14.1% dropoff from the final figure of 4.544 billion bushels, and the lowest yield since 2013 (3.357 billion bushels). However, AccuWeather’s predicted soybean yield is 1.4% higher than the USDA’s July estimate (3.845 billion bushels).

“The upcoming weather is still very important for both crops,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said. “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 (WASDE) on Monday, Aug. 12. 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.”

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Seth Meyer, the former chair of the USDA Outlook Board, which approves the WASDE report, told that just because USDA reports may hold surprises doesn’t mean they are incorrect. “Unusual years make projections more difficult to make,” Meyer said.

No doubt 2019 has been an unusual year. “This year is unlike any other,” Traver emailed AccuWeather.

And it’s not over, with AccuWeather still concerned with how crops could be impacted negatively by something as ordinary as an on-time frost, as well as the weather in the upcoming days.

AccuWeather's latest forecast projections show rain may reach Iowa and Illinois early this week.

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