It’s the kind of crop year where things look better week to week, month to month, even this late in the season across South Dakota as earlier projected records give away to even higher levels. Farmers can only welcome the larger bounty in a time of relatively low prices for the crops.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said South Dakota’s corn crop will hit an even higher record yield per acre than previously forecast, and that the total crop will come in as the second-largest on record.
Meanwhile, the soybean crop also will reach a higher record production mark than previously thought, according to the USDA production report released Friday, said Erik Gerlach, spokesman for USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service office in Sioux Falls.
Also Friday, USDA released the first estimates of the sunflower crop which looks to be a record-yielding one.
The first estimates of this year’s edible bean production also came out Friday, showing an 8 percent increase in per-acre yields over last year.
The state’s corn crop will come in at 797 million bushels, up 1 percent from last year and second only to the record state production figure of 802.8 million bushels harvested in 2013, Gerlach told the Capital Journal.
The figures released Friday are based on Oct. 1 conditions and decidedly more rosy than the figures issued just a month earlier, which pegged the state’s corn crop at promising only 755 million bushels, 4 percent lower than 2014’s production.
A month ago, the average corn yield forecast was a healthy new record of 159 bushels per acre. But Friday’s forecast jacked it up to 161 bushels, a full 13 bushels higher than 2014’s yields and 10 bushels an acre above the standing record set in 2009.
That increased yield estimate is even more impressive because it comes along with an increased estimate of how many acres of corn will be combined for grain this year in South Dakota: 4.95 million acres, up from the September estimate of 4.75 million acres but still down 7 percent from 2014 harvested acreage.
With relatively low corn prices – about half of the record levels seen only three years ago at a few cents above or below $3 a bushels in current cash bids at grain elevators in and around Pierre – every extra bushel in yield will help.
Still, many farmers and other experts say at these prices, not much profit will be harvested along with the grain this year. The $480 gross return that average prices and yields would bring now is pretty close to most experts’ break-even level for corn production in the state, although the cost of land, especially, can be a big variable for farmers.
USDA said earlier this week that 12 percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested by Sunday.
Gerlach said the October production report generally is more reliable than the September report. For one thing, farmers’ estimates as of Oct. 1 of their corn crop and how much they are going to combine include some actual harvest data as well as better forecasts than the September survey can include, Gerlach said.
He said also that the October report has more complete data from the Farm Service Agency offices which monitor farm acres and production to the acre.
For example, Friday’s report also increased the figure for acres of corn planted in South Dakota to 5.4 million, up from the June estimate of 5.2 million, Gerlach said. A small amount of corn each year is cut green for silage rather than being allowed to ripen for grain harvest.
Friday’s figures also show a bump up in expected record soybean production in South Dakota, to 235 million bushels, up from the September forecast of a record 233 million bushels as the area to be harvested went up to 5.11 million acres from 5.06 million last month. That would tie last year’s 5.11 million figure for harvested soybean acres while the yield remains at a record 46 bushels an acre, same as last month’s estimates and up a bushel from last year’s record of 45 bushels an acre.
At least half the soybean crop has been combined, based on the latest USDA survey.
Nationwide, the corn and soybean crops’ production each will be 1 percent lower than estimated in September, USDA said Friday. Corn output will total 13.56 billion bushels, still the third-largest crop on record. American farmers will harvest 3.89 billion bushels, still the second-largest harvest on record.
South Dakota’s sunflower harvest just started this week, according to grain elevator officials and it promises to be a record, in terms of pounds-per-acre: 1,929 pounds per acre, USDA said Friday, up 250 pounds, or 13 percent, from 2014’s crop.
Total sunflower production in the state was pegged at 1.27 billion pounds, up 45 percent from 2014, on 659,000 acres, which would be 26 percent above 2014’s harvested acres. South Dakota and North Dakota grow three-fourths of the nation’s sunflowers.
Dry edible bean production for the state will total 24 million pounds – or 240,000 hundredweight “bags” – which would be down 1 percent from last year. Yields will be up 8 percent to an estimated 2,050 pounds per acre on 11,700 acres, down 9 percent in acreage from 2014.
(Source – http://www.capjournal.com/news/usda-pegs-bigger-record-yields-for-corn-beans-sunflowers/article_47e8ec12-7092-11e5-94bd-c78719ce4343.html)