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AccuWeather’s new analysis predicts substantial 2019 crop yield shortfall

By John Roach, AccuWeather staff writer
June 11, 2019, 12:11:33 PM EDT

Iowa farm corn

Jeff Jorgenson looks over a partially flooded field he farms near Shenandoah, Iowa. About a quarter of his land was lost this year to Missouri River flooding, and much of his remaining property has been inundated with heavy rain and water from the neighboring Nishnabotna River. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

AccuWeather’s latest analysis predicts a big variation from the early U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates for the corn and soybean yield in 2019 as a result of flooding and continued wet, difficult growing conditions throughout the U.S. Corn Belt.

The latest AccuWeather analysis predicts corn yield will be a whopping 11.3% lower than an April USDA estimate. The USDA predicted 14.96 billion bushels, but AccuWeather’s new analysis estimates this year’s total at 13.26 billion bushels. Last year’s corn yield was 14.3 billion bushels.

On Tuesday June 11th, the USDA released its latest estimate for corn yield and lowered its projected total to 13.68 billion bushels.

AccuWeather’s projected soybean yield of 3.952 billion bushels is 4.7% below the USDA’s April estimate of 4.15 billion bushels. Last year’s record season produced 4.54 billion bushels of soybeans. The USDA's June 11th estimate remains unchanged at 4.15 billion bushels.

Corn and soybean planting remain well below normal, according to Monday’s latest USDA Crop Progress compared to the average from 2014-18. The Crop Progress indicated just 83% of corn was planted in 18 key corn-producing states. The 2014-18 average for corn planted by June 9 is 99%, so planting is off 16.1% in comparison.

Corn planting has been at an all-time low percentage for the last four reports and remains behind schedule in 15 of the 18 states monitored.

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Soybean planting is behind in 16 of the 18 key soybean-producing states, according to the report. So far, just 60% of soybean planting has taken place, compared to the five-year average of 88% by June 9, meaning soybean planting is off 31.8%.

“Soybeans won’t be impacted as much because you can plant them all the way through the end of June and you won’t lose much in yield,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. “At this point, the vast majority of farmers who haven’t planted corn yet are filing for insurance or planting soybeans.

Farmers can file for Prevented Planting insurance coverage to cover a percentage of the loss of crops. Also, President Trump recently announced a $16 billion farm aid package to offset possible losses from U.S-China trade tensions.

Farmers’ struggles won’t be solved simply by insurance and a farm aid package, though. Kevin Kloesel, director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey, told AccuWeather, “We’re talking about probably a billion-dollar disaster in the region on the ag side.”

And Indiana farmer Don Lamb wrote on his blog, “The geographical area of this challenge is huge. Every farmer is affected, of course, but with every farmer there are multiple relationships that will suffer financial consequences. The amount of seed, pesticides, fuel, fertilizer, and services that are NOT going to be sold is staggering." He added, "Of course, I am concerned about the financial impact to our farm, but I am more concerned about the ‘unknown’ impact this might have on the entire agriculture sector and rural communities.”

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